Golf: Matt Kuchar squanders big lead but still ends barren run with one-stroke win in Mexico

Golfer Matt Kuchar celebrates after winning the final round of the US PGA Tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on 11 Nov, 2018.
Golfer Matt Kuchar celebrates after winning the final round of the US PGA Tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on 11 Nov, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Matt Kuchar survived a late scare to clinch his first title in four years on Sunday (Nov 11), with a one-shot victory at the US PGA Tour's Mayakoba Classic in Playa del Carmen.

The 40-year-old American, who had started the final round with a four-shot lead, squeezed home ahead of New Zealand's Danny Lee after posting a two-under 69.

"I didn't want a three-footer on the last hole," Kuchar said. "I was hoping to have a three or four-shot lead for some wiggle room. But man, that felt awfully good."

Lee had surged up the leaderboard after a 65 to ramp up the pressure on Kuchar at the Camaleon Golf Club Course.

The 40-year-old Kuchar looked to be comfortably on course for the win after two birdies and seven pars on the front nine saw him reach the turn at two under.

A long birdie putt from off the green at the 11th followed by a further birdie at the 13th left the world No. 40 cruising towards the title at 24 under.

But back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th, and Lee's fine final round, left Kuchar only one shot clear heading to the 18th.

The Rio Olympic bronze medallist, however, was not about to be denied his first win since 2014 and he duly parred the par-four 18th to secure the victory.

Last season, he failed to make the US Ryder Cup team for the first time in a decade and finished out of the top 10 in the FedExCup standings for the first time since 2007.

"My 2018 wasn't what I wanted," said Kuchar, who has top-10 finishes in all four Majors. "This is a high note. It's amazing thing to get a win. I go from 'Hola' to 'Aloha'. I'm pretty excited about that."

Lee, meanwhile, was left to rue a costly bogey on the 15th hole which ultimately cost him a share of the lead and a possible play-off.

The bogey was the only blemish on a round that included seven birdies, leaving him 21 under for the tournament with a 72-hole aggregate of 263.

J.J Spaun and Richy Werenski finished three off the lead on 19 under after their closing rounds. Spaun carded a closing 65 while Werenski posted a 67 for a share of third place.

Brice Garnett was a shot back on 18 under while Scott Piercy was Sunday's biggest mover after carding a nine-under 62 which saw him vault up the leaderboard into a four-way tie for sixth at 17 under.