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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play

Winner: Matt Kuchar

Around the wider world of golf: Inbee Park zipped out of the pack to win the Honda LPGA Thailand; Jaclyn Sweeney won the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic, the Symetra Tour's first tourney of the year; Stacey Keating won the Women's Victorian Open on the ALPG; Chawalit Plaphol won the Zaykabar Myanmar Open on the Asian Tour; Jaco Van Zyl won the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour; and Kevin Foley won the Panama Claro Championship on the Web.com Tour.

Plus, for those of you keeping track, Danica Patrick finished 8th in NASCAR's Daytona 500, the best finish ever in that event by a woman... making her one of the few drivers, male or female, to have started in both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500, the biggest races on the NASCAR and IndyCar circuits, respectively.

Kuchar holds trophy

Well, one of my original picks to make the Final Four at the WGC-Accenture made it. Of course, Ian Poulter seemed to be a no-brainer to me -- there aren't many players better than him in match play.

Other players are trying, though. I knew Hunter Mahan could hold his own. I had forgotten that Matt Kuchar had made Top5s the last two years. And Jason Day surprised me, but he's finally getting over some injuries. Those four made it to a very cold, very windy Sunday to play 36 holes. (More or less.) They bundled themselves up so they looked like little desert Eskimos and set out to shock the world.

The shocks came from more than the cold.

The four men who could do no wrong most of the week went cold Sunday. Jason Day played well, especially given that it was his first appearance. He finished 3rd overall.

Poults was the biggest shock. His putter was cold from the very start, as putts that had fallen all week lipped out in both rounds Sunday. He hadn't played in six weeks, so it may have just been a little rust that caught up with him when the conditions and emotional intensity ganged up on him. He finished 4th.

Mahan was the second biggest shock. After some amazing short game play in the semis, his long game went cold. The defending champ finished as the runner-up.

It was Matt Kuchar who handled the cold best. The boy in the Arctic blue winterwear finally cracked the finals for the first time... then he cracked the stranglehold of the expected champions on this event. With his knit cap and his hand warmers each doing their part, he casually out-thought the rest of the field and simply put his ball where he couldn't make huge mistakes.

And he didn't. He snagged his first WGC and some serious bragging rights.

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the most coldblooded competitor in the WGC field -- on a course that was ice cold as well:
It rained and it snowed and the wind blew;
The battered survivors played right through.
First Hunter beat Ian
Then Kuch wound up bein’
The winner. (They all turned a bit blue.)
The photo came from the front page of PGATOUR.com.

2 comments:

  1. Inbee Park may have zipped out of the chase pack but she didn't so much win the Honda LPGA Thailand as overnight leader and Thai native Ariya Jutanugarn came unglued on the par 5 18th. Obviously you didn't watch the proceedings or read anything about it or you would probably agree with me that it was the most gutwrenching ending to a tournament since IK Kim lipped out that gimmie at the Kraft last year.

    Ariya started the day three shots clear of the field but was trailing Park by one when she stepped up to the tee at the par 3 12th. The hole-in-one instantly put her back up by a shot and it was a two shot cushion when Park finished up on 18 in the group ahead of her.

    From that point things started getting tense: Ariya saw her second shot plug into the steep face of a fairway bunker just below the lip, forcing her to take an unplayable. Her fourth shot sailed over the green leaving her a delicate downhill fifth to the back pin with the green just three feet in front of the flag sloping away towards the front. Mindful of how treacherous that shot could be Ariya was tentitive with it, her putt not even escaping the fringe. Her sixth from there manged to stop three feet below the pin and had she made the comebacker she would have been in a playoff with Park, but alas it was not to be.


    Kevin (IceCat)

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  2. You're right, Kevin -- I didn't get to see the end of the tournament, but I knew something had gone wrong for Ariya because I had seen she was at -14 late in the round. I didn't get to see what happened at 18 until Monday on Golf Central. (Just for the record, I missed most of the last half of the Accenture as well. I had set things up so I could keep up with both tournaments but Sunday didn't turn out to be a good TV day for me.)

    And I agree -- that was a nasty lie she got on her 2nd shot. Sometimes golf is just plain cruel... and it doesn't care that you're only 17 years old.

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