Kuchar closes out year with victory

Matt Kuchar closed out 2013 with another title to his name after claiming a convincing victory at the Franklin Templeton shootout alongside Harris English after firing a closing 58 on the final day in Naples, Florida. The American duo went round in 12-under par in the fourballs and went two better in the final-round scramble to finish a comfortable seven shots clear of Retief Goosen and Freddie Jacobson in second place after being tipped by many Betfair customers to clinch the title.

After another impressive year, Kuchar went into the tournament among the Betfair favourites, and the world number seven was pleased to have added another trophy to his 2013 collection.

“It was a fun week. This is one of my favourite events of the year. I wish we could play more team events. I realise during the year that’s difficult, but to mix up the formats and have a partner here is just a lot of fun. It’s nice to perform well,” admitted Kuchar, who is among the favourites with the golf odds to win the Masters in April.

Goosen and Jacobson fired 11-under par for the second day running in Florida but that was only good enough to put them 27 under for the tournament, seven shots behind the sensational Harris and Kuchar. European Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter finished a further shot back after firing 59, while Chris DiMarco and Billy Horschel closed the tournament a shot behind Goosen and Jacobson.

Defending champions Sean O’Hair and Kenny Perry had held the lead after day one and right in contention with the Betfair odds to win the event, but the duo’s hopes of retaining their crown fell apart during the fourballs, leaving the two slipping down the leaderboard and finishing the tournament on 23 under.

Rory Sabbatini and Scott Verplank finished on 22 under with Charles Howell and Justin Leonard three shots ahead of a group of three teams tied for eighth with tournament host Greg Norman and Jonas Blixt, Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, and Graham DeLaet and Mike Weir all tied on 19 under.

by Dalt Reede

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