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WGC-Match Play Championship report

Kisner wins Match Play – but beaten finalist Kuchar makes headlines again

Kevin Kisner finally got his Match Play title, another Matt Kuchar PR blunder, and the final we wish we'd had. Alex Perry wraps up the action
 

Want a run-down of anything you may have missed from Austin Country Club? Our WGC-Match Play Championship report will get you up to speed…

WGC-Match Play Championship report: So what happened?

In a fascinating week of matchplay where the biggest talking point was the gimme that never was – more on that later – the final was somewhat of an anticlimax.

In the end, Kisner, who was thrashed 7&6 by Bubba Watson in last year’s Match Play final, edged out Matt Kuchar 3&2 for his third PGA Tour title.

In the 3rd-place play-off, Francesco Molinari contined his fine matchplay form with a 4&2 win over surprise package Lucas Bjerregaard, who had taken down Tiger Woods in the quarter-finals.

Earlier in the day, at the semi-final stage, Kuchar beat Bjerregaard and Kisner ousted Molinari, both by a single hole.

Full WGC-Match Play scoreboard

WGC-Match Play Championship report: The talking points

Right. Here we go. Gimmegate.

So during Kuchar’s match with Sergio Garcia, the American was in for a bogey four when Garcia, one down at the time, missed from six feet and then, from three inches at the most, missed the tap-in with the back of his putter.

My colleague Mark Townsend has gone more in depth on the incident, and as always social media was alive with debate – with everyone seemingly split down the middle as to whether they were backing Kuch or Sergio.

Whoever’s side you’re on, one thing’s for certain: none of them coming out looking good.

**

WGC-Match Play Championship report

We knew at the start of the week that Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy was a possibility in the first knockout stage. And not only did we get our wish, but the first matchplay meeting between the pair did not disappoint.

You knew we were in for a cracker when McIlroy smashed a 340-yard drive down the first – only for Woods to outdrive him by a couple of yards.

Successive birdies saw the 14-time major champion two up through six, as McIlroy, who only lost three holes and was never behind in his three group stage matches, struggled to get the putter going.

The Northern Irishman then hit a 395-yard drive at the par-5 16th, only to flunk a wedge into the sand before knocking his third through the green into an unplayable lie. The concession gave Woods the advantage and he won it in style at 17.

 

What a shame this wasn’t the final.

As if the Ryder Cup didn’t prove it, Francesco Molinari is nothing short of a beast in this format.

Look at the Opn champion’s last 15 matchplay results:

Won 3&1
Won 3&2
Lost 7&5
Won 3&1
Won 5&4
Won 4&3
Won 5&4
Won 4&2
Won 5&4
Won 4&3
Won 2&1
Won 5&4
Won 6&5
Lost 1-up
Won 4&2

And to think this is the guy who scraped half a point from three in his Ryder Cup debut.

**

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry owes Molinari a bottle of his favourite tipple. The Italian’s quarter-final thrashing of Kevin Na meant Lowry stays in the world’s top 50 and earns a fourth trip to the Masters.

The Irishman took the trip down Magnolia Lane in 2015, ’16 and ’17, with a T39 sandwiched by two missed cuts.

Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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