MARANA Ariz. -- A year ago, Hunter Mahan eliminated Matt Kuchar in the quarterfinals of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
On Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club the two met again and this time Kuchar turned the tables on the defending champion, beating Mahan 2 and 1 to win a title of his own.
Kuchar has now won 14 of his last 16 matches in this global event and he has a 15-3 record overall. It was Mahan's first loss in 12 matches and his record overall is now 15-5.
Kuchar, who won THE PLAYERS Championship 10 months ago, got the upper hand early Sunday afternoon. Mahan was his own worst enemy starting out, making four straight bogeys to hand his opponent a 3-up advantage when the two walked off the sixth green, where Kuchar also happened to make his first birdie of the day.
When Mahan bogeyed No. 4 to start the string of three straight holes won for Kuchar, it marked the first time the defending champion had trailed in an amazing stretch of 169 holes. The streak dated back to the sixth hole of his opening match with Zach Johnson last year.
Kuchar then took a 4-up lead when he made a 3-footer for birdie at the eighth hole. But what looked like it was turning into a runaway changed dramatically on the back nine.
Kuchar made bogey at the 10th hole to surrender part of his advantage. Then Mahan finally started making birdies again -- four in a five-hole stretch starting at the 11th hole to pull to 2 down.
The brisk wind then died down just as Kuchar hit a 4-iron on the par-3 16th hole. The ball ended up next to a hospitality area and Kuchar proceeded to make bogey, and suddenly his lead was a tenuous 1 up with two holes to go.
But Kuchar secured the 2-and-1 win when Mahan's second shot at the 17th hole landed in a bush. He was able to advance it about 4 feet but when he didn't hole his fourth shot, Mahan conceded to Kuchar who looking at a 5-footer for birdie.
"I'm not sure I can explain how excited I am to have won this tournament," Kuchar said. "Match play I find to be such an amazing, unique format, so much fun to play and so much pressure. It seems like each hole there's so much momentum riding and so much pressure on every hole. To come out on top after six matches of playing guys, the top 64 guys in the world, it's an incredible feeling."
Mahan, on the other hand, was at a loss to explain the unusual streak of bogeys on the front nine.
"I just didn't play good golf there," he said. "It just wasn't good. ... Kuch is a good player, he's a solid player. You saw today how he can get up and down and hit good quality shots and didn't put himself in the desert at all really. I just put myself too far behind the eight-ball. ... I gained some momentum on 10 and started playing a lot better after that, but it was just too little, too late."
SCORECARD STATS: Kuchar made five birdies and three bogeys. Mahan made four birdies and four bogeys. He conceded the final hole to Kuchar.
HOLES WON: Kuchar won six holes. Mahan won four holes.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan is one match away from a successful title defense after beating the 2010 champion, Ian Poulter, in the semifinals.
Mahan has now won his last 11 matches -- and he hasn't trailed since the sixth hole of his 2012 opener, a span of 166 holes. He is looking to become the first player to successfully defend his title since Tiger Woods in 2004 and '04.
In Poulter on Sunday, Mahan was facing one of the game's virtuoso match players but he never let the Englishman get the edge in the blustery conditions.
Mahan won the second hole with a 4-footer for birdie but the match went back to even after the American made bogey at No. 4. Poulter returned the favor at the next hole, though, and Mahan never trailed again.
Mahan got up and down for birdie at the par-5 eighth to make the turn 2 up. He chipped in for birdie at the 12th to go 3 up and won the 14th with a par to pad his lead. When the two halved the driveable 15th with birdies, the match was done.
"I'll tell you what, it's easy to get up for Ian because he's so good in match play," Mahan said. "He's such a competitor. He's never going to be out of a hole. He's always going to find a way. Today I played really well, got up and down from a lot of tough spots, and my short game definitely carried me today."
Mahan said the winds that were gusting to 30 mph made the match extremely challenging. "On a golf course like this where kind of accuracy is premium, and the wind the way it's blowing, it's difficult out there," he said.
Poulter, who has a 22-10 record at the Accenture Match Play Championship, said he was "personally disappointed.
"I think I would like the outcome to have been slightly different, but Hunter played very solid today," Poulter said. "He chipped it unbelievably well when he had to, and I think there was a key turn around 11 or 12. I had a putt there to win the hole on 11 from about eight feet and I missed it, and then he hit the wrong club on 12, gone flying through the back of the green. I put it in position on the back of the green, he chipped in.
"Huge turnaround there. I could have changed that match around at that point there. And from that point there was no letup. ... I think it was tricky this afternoon with the wind, and it was very tricky to go at some of those pins. It made it difficult."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan made five birdies and two bogeys. Poulter made three bogeys and two birdies, both of which came in his last three hole.
HOLES WON: Mahan won five holes. Poulter won one.
NEXT OPPONENT: Mahan plays Matt Kuchar, who beat Jason Day 4 and 3 in the other semifinal. The championship match will begin at 2:15 p.m. ET (12:15 p.m. MT). Poulter will play Day in the third-place match beginning at 1:55 p.m. ET (11:55 p.m. MT).
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan played the 18th hole on Saturday afternoon for the first time in four matches this week as he beat the reigning U.S. Open champion.
In fact, the last time Mahan played the 18th hole was in his opening match last year as he embarked on a successful march to the championship. The sixth hole of that match against Zach Johnson last year also was the last time Mahan trailed -- which is an impressive streak of 151 holes.
Mahan and Simpson both played well. They halved the first four holes before Mahan drew first blood with a 17-footer for birdie at the fifth hole.
Simpson birdied the par-5 eighth to square the match but Mahan's 26-footer at No. 10 put him 1 up again. Simpson then got up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the par-5 13th for another birdie to square the match.
Mahan got the final edge, though, when he drove the 15th green and two-putted for birdie from 56 feet. The next three holes were halved with pars and Mahan's record improved to 14-4.
"Difficult match against Webb," Mahan said. "Great competitor, great player. I knew it was going to be a tough one, and it was. It was really a seesaw battle. I don't think either one of us really gained too much momentum, it was so back and forth.
"I made a couple nice up and downs and made some nice putts today. In the afternoon that's kind of what led me to victory, obviously making the par on 16 gave me the 1 up lead and I was able to finish it down the stretch. But tight match and really could have gone either way."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan made five birdies and didn't drop a shot to par. Simpson made five birdies and one bogey.
HOLES WON: Mahan won three holes. Simpson won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Mahan plays Ian Poulter, who beat Steve Stricker 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals.
MARANA, Ariz -- This was a battle of two players who have a wealth of match play experience -- and each were trying to go to the Accenture Match Play finals for the second time. Kaymer was second to Luke Donald in 2011, and Mahan won in 2012.
This match was over almost before it started, though.
Kaymer went 2 down after just four holes after he failed to birdie either of the opening par-5s at Dove Mountain. Mahan birdied them both, then birdied three consecutive par 4s starting at No. 6 to take a 5-up lead. The match was over when both played parred the 14th.
Mahan has now won nine consecutive matches at Dove Mountain, dating back to 2011. Kaymer was the last player to beat the American, ousting Mahan 2 and 1 in the third round in 2011.
The last time Mahan trailed in a match was the sixth hole in the first round a year ago, a span of 133 holes.
"Well, it's strange, I've always gotten off to good starts and get some leads and been hitting it well," Mahan said. "If you hit fairways and greens, you know you're going to put pressure on your guy. It's definitely nice to get a lead and that's the goal for everybody, but to do it, it's a good feeling for sure."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan made six birdies and seven pars in 14 holes. Kaymer had 1 birdie, 1 eagle and 12 pars.
HOLES WON: Mahan won six holes. Kaymer won one hole.
NEXT UP: Mahan plays Webb Simpson, who beat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 2 up.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Defending champion Hunter Mahan, a No. 6 seed, beat Richard Sterne of South Africa, 4 and 3, in the second round.
Mahan has now won 10 of his last 11 matches at Dove Mountain dating back to 2011.
"Confidence is high," Mahan said. "I know I can play this place well, and I know I can beat anybody on any given day."
Mahan got off to a quick start Friday with birdies on his first two holes. But he lost the fifth and sixth holes. The match was all square after Mahan's second bogey of the day at the ninth hole.
But then Sterne, a 14th seed, suffered bogeys at the 10th and 11th holes, and Mahan followed that with a birdie at the par-3 12th when his tee shot landed inside of 7 feet.
Mahan then won his fourth consecutive hole at the par-5 13th when Sterne conceded a 10-1/2 foot eagle putt. That put Mahan 4 up.
"I was able to put the pressure kind of on my opponent once I got going on the back nine with the first four holes there," Mahan said. "That was obviously key and important."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan carded four birdies, two bogeys and a had a conceded eagle. Sterne carded three birdies and three bogeys.
HOLES WON: Mahan won six holes. Sterne won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Mahan plays Martin Kaymer in the third round of the Player bracket.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan opened defense of his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship crown by knocking off Italian teen Matteo Manassero, 5 and 4, in the first round.
Mahan now faces South African Richard Sterne in the second round of the Player bracket.
Mahan, a sixth seed, handed Manassero, an 11th seed, his first first-round loss in three career appearances in this event. Mahan was 4 up through nine holes before play was halted on Wednesday. He opened Thursday with bogeys on his first two holes, with Manassero winning the 11th hole with a par.
But Manassero could never find his game. In the 14 holes he played, Manassero suffered eight bogeys while failing to record a birdie. Mahan, meanwhile, had just one birdie but was still happy with his play.
"I felt like I let some holes kind of slip away that I should have done better on," Mahan said. "But all in all, I feel good about how I played and how I'm swinging. I've just got to keep it up."
Mahan has now won nine of his last 10 matches in this event.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Hunter Mahan, who defends his title at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship next week, has gotten into the mix at Riviera.
Mahan has birdied four of his first six holes to move to 10 under and into a tie with Fredrik Jacobson. He made a 9-foot putt at the first hole, then added a 13-footer at No. 2, a 40-footer at the fifth and anoher from 13 feet at No. 6.
Bill Haas remains in the lead at 13 under after completing five holes in the final round of his title defense.
Mahan has had a solid start to the season, finishing 16th or better in his last three starts. Interestingly, his best finish at the Northern Trust Open in seven appearances is a tie for 17th in 2009.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Hunter Mahan bounced back from his only bogey of the day with a birdie aton Pebble Beach's iconic 18th hole to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Mahan two-putted from 45 feet on the signature par 5 that skirts the Pacific Ocean to get to 6 under and pull even with Russell Knox in relation to par. The Scotsman shot 64 at Monterey Peninsula's Shore Course, which is the only one in the three-course rotation that plays to a par 70.
"The conditions were so benign right now that you can be aggressive and there are some pins that were definitely accessible today," Mahan said. "So it was nice to take advantage of that.... I like how I played and hit a lot of good quality shots and it was nice to end with a birdie today."
The group at 5 under included Matt Every, Ted Potter Jr., Greg Owen, Ryuji Imada, Scott Langley and Seung-yul Noh, who was in the lead by himself before he bogeyed his last two holes at Spyglass Hill. Langley, the first member of The First Tee to earn a PGA TOUR card, made seven birdies and two bogeys on the Shore Course.
Brandt Snedeker, who currently leads the FedExCup standings and won the season-long competition last year, heads a group of nine players at 4 under. Snedeker, who opened the season by finishing third on Maui, has been the runner-up the last two weeks.
Lee Westwood, who is making his 2013 PGA TOUR debut and played Pebble Beach with his dad John on Thursday, is also in the group at 4 under. Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who won last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open in record-setting fashion, shot 1 under at Monterey Peninsula.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Hunter Mahan, who will defend his title at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks, is off to a hot start at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
Mahan has birdied five of his first eight holes to grab a share of the lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Mahan, who finished second at the tournament two years ago, is deadlocked with rookie Henrik Norlander, who started on the back nine and has completed 13 holes at Pebble Beach.
Bob Estes, Matt Every, Russell Knox, Seung-yul Noh, Camilo Villegas, Ted Potter Jr. and John Merrick are tied at 4 under. Estes and Noh are playing Spyglass Hills; Knox and Villegas are at Monterey Peninsula and Every, Potter and Merrick are at Pebble Beach.
Villegas is playing with actor Chris O'Donnell, start of "NCIS: Los Angeles." The two are 7 under in the pro-am portion of the tournament and are tied for the lead with five other groups.