The 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play has featured plenty of high seeded American golfers being "upset" and bowing out early. But on Sunday afternoon at Dove Mountain, it will be two American PGA Tour regulars who are fighting for the first WGC title of the 2013 season. Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan, both No. 6 seeds, advanced to the championship on Sunday morning during final four action in Marana, Ariz.
In the first semi, Kuchar dispatched Jason Day, the Aussie who had rolled through his first four matches this week. Kuchar has looked solid in only a few appearances this season and had taken some time off before re-surfacing at Riviera last week. He opened the tournament in Los Angeles with a 64 but fell off as the rest of the week progressed. The lanky Georgia Tech product has put it all together this week and closed out Day on the 15th hole for a 4 & 3 semifinal win.
Day held a momentary lead after winning the second hole, but once Kuchar pulled things square at No. 4, he would never trail again. The Aussie was off throughout the match, missing a majority of his fairways and greens in regulation. It's not surprising to see Kuchar in the finals, as he's been one of the most consistent players in the world over the past three years and also has a history of playing deeper in the week at this event.
Mahan, of course, has had his success in Marana as well and will attempt to defend his title late Sunday afternoon. As Golf Channel noted, Mahan has not trailed in a match at this event since the first round last year. He has long been one of the most talented American golfers in the world, and that's lead to four wins in the last three years. For two years now, he has demonstrated his bona fides in match play competition, but his two early wins last year surprisingly did not clinch him a Ryder Cup spot. On Sunday, he wiped out Euro Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, 4 & 3.
Poulter could well be considered the best match play golfer in the world right now, given his record in this event and at the Ryder Cup. But much like Day, he was not in form throughout the match, missing chip shots and scrambling to keep up with Mahan, who built his multi-hole lead on the back nine. While there wasn't any snow, the weather was particularly brutal with temperatures in the 30s and the wind absolutely whipping across the course. Poulter was clearly affected by the conditions, which seemed to temper his enthusiasm and the momentum he had built over the week.
The finals will be a rematch of the quarters from last year, which Mahan obviously won en route to the overall title. Can he keep his streak alive against Kuchar? The championship match is scheduled to go off around 2:15 p.m. ET.
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