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  • WGC Match Play Championship, Round Four

Kuchar wins, Poulter slumps to fourth

ESPN staff
February 24, 2013 « Mancini: Premier League title race still on | Chartbeat test »
Ian Poulter was in scintillating form in Arizona until the semi-finals © Getty Images
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WGC Match Play Championship draw & results

Heavily fancied for overall victory at the WGC Match Play Championship Ian Poulter lost his semi-final to Hunter Mahan and failed to even secure third against Jason Day.

Matt Kuchar took overall victory with a two and one win against Mahan in the final, but was holding on towards the end as he saw his four-up lead after eight holes reduced to two after 12 and then just one after 16.

But Mahan fared much worse in hitting out of the bunker than Kuchar did at the 17th and ended up conceding the hole and overall victory.

Having looked in excellent form in the first three days of competition Poulter suffered a day to forget as the cold desert wind played havoc with his game. The 37-year-old's prowess in match play and the lack of other top-20 players in the semi-finals, meant many had earmarked him to take a second WGC Match Play crown, his first coming in 2010.

His semi-final opponent Mahan was no outsider however, particularly as the defending champion, and his excellent short game proved the difference between the two. The gulf in form was never highlighted better than at the par-three 12th hole, when Mahan went three up. He initially looked in trouble at the back of the green after his first shot but he chipped in for a birdie while Poulter's putt was well short.

The American then went four up at the 14th before matching the Englishman's birdie at the next to secure the win.

"It was tricky," Poulter said. "It was a lot windier today. Hunter never gave me too many opportunities. A couple of chip shots weren't quite right, and a couple of bunker shots weren't quite right. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't press him more."

Kuchar made his way to the final by beating Day four and three and did not let his focus drop until he had secured his fifth PGA Tour win.

"He got off to a slow start and I got off pretty quickly, four up at the turn and thinking I was going to try do the same to what he did to me last year and see if I can do six and five," said Kuchar.

"But Hunter made a great battle and he played some great golf and has a lot to be proud of, for two straight years making the championship match is great. To be standing here to get this trophy and one of the more exciting things was to see my kids say "are we going to take that home?!"

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