May 13 2012
FINAL-ROUND UPDATES (all times ET) 6:59 p.m. -- Matt Kuchar has won THE PLAYERS Championship, firing a final-round 70 to hold off charges by Rickie Fowler, Martin Laird, Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis by two strokes. Kuchar, who parred the final hole, moved to No. 6 in the FedExCup with the victory. 6:42 p.m. -- Matt Kuchar three-putted the 17th hole from 45 feet and came back to the field at 13 under -- he's still ahead by two, though, after Rickie Fowler was unable to convert his 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole. Fowler finished at 11 under with Martin Laird, Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis, who made the fourth birdie of the day on No. 18. 6:28 p.m. -- Rickie Fowler drained a 21-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole to get back to 11 under and within two shots of Matt Kuchar's lead. Minutes later, in clear site of the island green, Matt Kuchar poured in a 15-footer to give himself more breathing room at 14 under. 6:15 p.m. -- Ben Curtis just made another bounce-back birdie. After a bogey on the 15th, Curtis laid up on the par-5 16th then hit his approach to 18 feet and made the putt to get to 10 under and within three of Kuchar. Ditto Rickie Fowler, who also birdied the 16th to get to 10 under. 6:05 p.m. -- Trailing by just one, Martin Laird made a crucial mistake on the final hole, pulling his approach shot left of the greenside bunker and nearly into the water. He pitched to just over 6 feet, but the Scot missed his 6-footer for par and finished with a 67 to get in the clubhouse at 11 under. The bogey was the second in the last five holes for Laird and leaves him two shots back. 6 p.m. -- Rickie Fowler got too aggressive with his putt from off the green at the 15th hole and paid for it. He rolled it 10 feet past, couldn’t make the par putt coming back and dropped back to 9 under. Fowler is four strokes back of Matt Kuchar now, who has four holes to play. 5:40 p.m. -- With a half-dozen holes to go, Matt Kuchar leads by one at 13 under with Martin Laird right behind him and Zach Johnson another stroke back. Rickie Fowler and Ben Curtis are one more back from there at 10 under. Keep this in mind, only once has someone won THE PLAYERS with a birdie on the 18th: Steve Elkington in 1991. 5:24 p.m. -- Talk about a bounce back. After Ben Curtis double-bogeyed the par-3 eighth, where his tee shot found the water, he’s rolled off four straight birdies to get to 10 under and within two of the lead. Rickie Fowler has also recovered from a couple of front-nine mistakes with birdies on each of his last two holes, Nos. 11 and 12. 5:05 p.m. -- The back-and-forth atop the leaderboard continues with Martin Laird dropping a shot after a bogey on No. 14. Laird missed the green right on his approach then failed to get up-and-down after hitting to 28 feet. That leaves Matt Kuchar alone in the lead at 12 under. 4:54 p.m. -- Martin Laird continues to apply pressure, rolling in an 8-footer at the 13th hole for his third straight birdie to rejoin Matt Kuchar at the top of the leaderboard. 4:51 p.m. -- The two players in the final group had very different results at the par-5 ninth hole. Kevin Na made his fourth bogey in his last five holes from a nasty lie in the rough beside the green and fell back to 9 under. Matt Kuchar, on the other hand, chipped to 26 inches and made the putt to move to 12 under. 4:45 p.m. -- Martin Laird has pulled even with Matt Kuchar at 11 under after consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12. He got up and down from the left side of the green at the par-5 12th, sinking a 5-footer for the birdie, and made a 14-footer at the next. 4:30 p.m. -- Add Carl Pettersson and Bo Van Pelt to the mix. They’re 4 and 3 under, respectively, today and both are within three of the lead at 8 under. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler is still stuck on 1 over for his round as he plays the par-5 ninth. 4:10 p.m. -- Kevin Na just missed his first putt from inside 5 feet all week and it resulted in a bogey on the sixth hole, dropping Na into a tie for the lead with Matt Kuchar. Meanwhile, Ben Curtis just picked up a stroke with a birdie on No. 7 to get within three of the lead. 4:05 p.m. -- The final groups are through the first handful of holes at TPC Sawgrass and Kevin Na is still in the lead with Matt Kuchar a shot back after both played the first five holes in even. Martin Laird, meanwhile, just turned in 3 under and is three back. 3:55 p.m. -- Tiger Woods on his final-round 73 to finish his week at 1-under 287: “I felt that I played well in spurts again,” he said. “Just need to be a little bit more consistent.” On what strides he’s made since the Masters: “I'm starting to hit the ball up in the air again, and doing it correctly. Some of the way I used to do it, how I used to add the loft through impact on the way down.” 3:45 p.m. -- Luke Donald is running out of holes but he's certainly gaining ground. He just made an 11-footer at the 16th hole for his fifth birdie on the back nine. He's 8 under and five strokes off the pace -- tied for fifth right now. If he finishes solo fourth or better, Donald will be back atop the Official World Golf Ranking after a one-week absence. 3:40 p.m. -- A double bogey at the fifth hole has dropped Rickie Fowler back into a tie for third at 9 under, four strokes off the pace being set by Kevin Na. Fowler's troubles began when his second shot landed in the thick grass above a greenside bunker. Standing with one foot in the sand, he advanced the ball to the fringe, then chipped 9 feet short and missed the putt for bogey. 3:21 p.m. -- Rickie Fowler is back to within two after pouring in a 29-footer for birdie par-4 fourth. Fowler has been impressive on the front nine here the last two rounds with six birdies and zero bogeys in 13 holes. 3:15 p.m. -- Kevin Na leads by three after a birdie on the par-5 second, where he chipped to inside 3 feet and made the putt. Na and Luke Donald, by the way, are the only players since the start of last season who are perfect on putts from inside that distance. 2:55 p.m. -- There seem to be some good scores out there at TPC Sawgrass. Already a couple of 65s have been recorded, and Spencer Levin is now 5 under through 14 holes after birdies on five of his last six holes. That gets Levin to 7 under with four holes to play. 2:40 p.m. -- It didn’t take Rickie Fowler to make his first birdie of the day. Fowler split the first fairway then stuck his approach from 136 yards to 4 feet to get to 10 under ad within two of the lead. 2:28 p.m. – David Toms finished his round with a par for a 7-under 65, which is one shot off the final-round low at THE PLAYERS. At 7 under for the tournament, Toms walked off the 18th green in a tie for fourth. 2:18 p.m. – Phil Mickelson has gotten off to a good start with a 3-footer for birdie at the par-5 second hole and an 18-inch putt at No. 4. He’s now 6 under and six shots behind Kevin Na, who tees off in a half hour. 2:13 p.m. – David Toms has just birdied the first two holes of The Gauntlet – Nos. 16 and 17 – and has moved to 7 under for the day and the tournament. Toms, who lost in a playoff a year ago, has made an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys. 1:40 p.m. -- Bob Estes is in with the low round of the day, a 7-under 65, which also matches the low round of the week (Ian Poulter and Martin Laird also shot 65 Thursday). At one point, Estes made seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch before closing in 32. The 65 by Estes is his best score here by three shots. 1:25 p.m. -- More Tiger: He just made the turn in 40 after hitting just three fairways and three greens in regulation. Meanwhile, Bob Estes is now 7 under with two holes to play. He has seven birdies and one bogey over his last nine holes and is now 5 under for the week. The last time Woods shot a 40 for nine holes, by the way, was his first nine holes of the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlantic Athletic Club, where he went on to miss the cut. 1:10 p.m. -- The bogeys are piling up for Tiger Woods, who missed the green left on the par-3 eighth then failed to get up-and-down for par. He’s now 4 over on the day. In case you’re wondering, Woods’ worst career score here is a 75, which he has shot a number of times (most recently in the first round in 2007). 12:50 p.m. -- Tiger Woods continues to struggle here at TPC Sawgrass, where he just dropped to 3 over after a bogey on the sixth hole after he missed the green short and failed to get up-and-down from the sand. It was the second bogey of the round for Woods -- he also has a double bogey on the card -- and he’s now 1 over for the tournament. 12:45 p.m. -- Bob Estes continues to make birdies, adding two more on Nos. 12 and 13 thanks to approach shots that landed inside 7 feet on both holes. Estes is now 6 under through 13 holes and 4 under for the week. 12:20 p.m. – Justin Rose put himself behind the 8-ball this week with an opening 76. He had a memorable shot on Sunday, though, when he holed a wedge from 67 yards at the par-4 12th for eagle. Rose, who is now 3 over for the tournament, is the third player to hole a shot from the fairway already on Sunday. 12:13 p.m. – Tiger Woods hit his second shot into the water that fronts the fourth green. He took his drop and found the green with his fourth, then two-putted from 8 feet for the double bogey. 12:07 p.m. – Bob Estes has birdied three straight holes as he made the turn to get to 4 under for the day and 2 under for the tournament. He drained a 38-footer at the par-3 eighth, a 9-footer at No. 9 and a 16-footer at the 10th. 11:57 a.m. – Tiger Woods has gotten the shot he squandered at the first hole back at the par-5 second. He got up-and-down from the pot bunker to the left of the green, making a 12-footer for the birdie. 11:50 a.m. – These guys really are good. We’ve already had two shots holed for eagle from the fairway. David Toms made his from 123 yards at the sixth hole to get to 1 under for the day while Graham DeLaet holed one from 140 yards at No. 10 to take the sting out of a 40 on the front nine. 11:37 a.m. – Tiger Woods didn’t get off to the best of starts. He missed the fairway left and the green right, then chipped to 17 feet and missed the putt for par. He’s now 1 under for the tournament. 11:30 a.m. – You’ll see a lot of pink inside and outside the ropes at TPC Sawgrass today in celebration of Mother’s Day and to promote breast cancer awareness. For every fan in attendance on Sunday, THE PLAYERS is donating $1 to The Donna Foundation, which helps local women battling the disease. 11:15 a.m. – There are 30 players on the golf course right now and only 10 are under par right now. George McNeill is 2 under through 13 holes while Rod Pampling and Bob Estes are the same through 11 and eight holes, respectively. 11 a.m. – The skies will be mostly cloudy on Sunday but it looks like the rain will hold off until Monday. The high will hit 80 and the winds will be in the 10-20 mph range as the leaders tee off at 2:45 p.m.