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Kisner beats Kuchar to claim Match Play crown

Kisner beats Kuchar to claim Match Play crown

Kevin Kisner claimed his maiden World Golf Championships title after beating Matt Kuchar in the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play to banish the memory of last year's defeat.

Kisner was on the wrong end of a 7&6 scoreline against Bubba Watson in the final 12 months ago but he avenged that defeat with a 3&2 victory on Sunday afternoon.

After ending Francesco Molinari's ten match winning run in a keenly contested semi-final earlier in the day, Kisner led after every hole apart from one against Kuchar on his way to securing the trophy.

Reigning Race to Dubai champion Molinari bounced back from his loss straight away, winning the consolation match against Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard 4&2 to finish third.

Kisner got off to a flying start in the final, taking the first hole with a birdie from 11 feet.

Kevin Kisner

Kuchar levelled things up with a par at the fifth but the match was not tied for long.

Kisner was badly out of position after his second shot at the sixth but got out of trouble with a sensational third, sending his approach to six feet before rolling in his birdie putt to secure an unlikely win which restored his one hole lead.

And a par at the seventh was good enough to see him extend his advantage to two holes after Kuchar missed from 12 feet.

Kuchar cut the deficit to one when he won the ninth but Kisner's two hole lead was restored when his opponent put his tee shot in the water at the short 11th.

The 35-year-old extended his lead to three holes at the 15th before knocking in his 20 foot putt at the 16th to become the first ever player to lose their opening match at this event and still win the title.

Kisner, who beat match play specialist Ian Poulter in a Group 14 play-off on Friday before overcoming Li Haotong, Louis Oosthuizen and Molinari on his way to the final, was thrilled to finally win the title.

He said: "It's a big week, a long weekend. Gruelling, not only from the mental side, but the physical side too.

"It's a lot of golf and a lot of stressful holes and stressful putts but I was able to prevail and had a great week. I love Austin Country Club, love Austin, Texas, and love being out here.

"Last year I felt like I rushed around to get ready to play in the second match. I ran around and ate really fast, ran back out. I tried to go through my whole normal routine in an hour to get ready, and that's just not feasible.

"I hung out, took a shower, chilled out, got some treatment on my body and went to the range at 2:05pm, and teed off at 2:25pm.

"I just went and hit 20 balls and went to the tee. I think that greatly helped my mental side of the game as much as anything. I wasn't over hyped for it and just tried to go and play a casual round of golf."

Kuchar progressed to the final after edging his last four contest against Bjerregaard by a single hole but he struggled against Kisner in the afternoon.

"I had a great week," said Kuchar. "To make it to Sunday, to make it to the championship match, it's an awesome run.

"But only one person goes home with the trophy, and only one person goes home without a loss in knockout rounds. I got a loss, and it's never fun taking a loss."

In the third place match, Ryder Cup star Molinari led by two holes at the turn after carding four birdies on the front nine.

And he continued to dominate as the European pair made their way down the stretch, winning the tenth and 12th to go four holes up.

Bjerregaard pulled one back on the 13th but Molinari cruised to victory, winning the 16th to secure a 4&2 win.

The Dane was pleased with his week's work despite losing twice on Sunday.

He said: "It's been a brilliant week. I can't stand here and say it's been a bad week. There were 64 to start and I'm in the last four. But to lose twice in a day, that hurts."

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