Golf: Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar end tournament slumps
Lee Westwood was finally back in the winner’s circle on Sunday and it was in a familiar setting, clinching his third title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa by coming from behind to overhaul a three-shot deficit in the final round.
Westwood denied Sergio Garcia a wire-to-wire victory at Sun City and Louis Oosthuizen a first success at his home tournament by surging past the two major winners with a fabulous 8-under-par 64.
Westwood won back-to-back Nedbank titles in 2010-11, before the event was part of the European Tour, but hadn’t tasted victory on the tour since April 2014. The 45-year-old Englishman hadn’t won anywhere for more than three years.
“I’m a bit emotional, to be honest,” Westwood said, his voice breaking as he battled to hold back tears. “You’re never sure whether you’re going to be able to do it again. Until now my emotions have felt really under control all day, which is what I’ve been working hard on.”
Westwood saved his best — as well as his tears — for last at Gary Player Country Club as the best round of the day and only the second 64 of the week saw him finish 15 under overall, a three-shot win over Garcia (70), with Oosthuizen (69) third on 11 under.
Garcia had led from the start and had a two-shot advantage over Oosthuizen and was three ahead of Westwood after three rounds. But Westwood’s finish proved irresistible.
Down the stretch, Garcia couldn’t make any birdies on the last six holes. Oosthuizen kept slipping up, with three bogeys and a double-bogey on the last to go with his eight birdies. Westwood didn’t drop a shot all day.
Kuchar wins in Mexico
Matt Kuchar ended more than four years without a PGA Tour victory Sunday by closing with a 2-under 69 and holding up through a few nervous moments down the stretch to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Kuchar had a four-shot lead going into the final round. But after making two bogeys over the first 67 holes in the tournament, he made two bogeys in two holes on Nos. 14 and 15, and his lead shrunk to one shot when Danny Lee made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 16th hole.
Lee finished with two pars for a 65. Kuchar rolled in a 3-foot par putt to win by one shot.
Vijay Singh rallies for Charles Schwab Cup Championship victory
Vijay Singh rallied from six shots behind with his career-best round on the PGA Tour Champions, a 10-under 61 that gave him a four-shot victory in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and gave Bernhard Langer the season title and $1 million annuity.
Langer won the Schwab Cup for the fifth time, and fourth time in the last five years.
“At age 61 to do it is quite an achievement,” Langer said, holding a glass of red wine on the balcony at Phoenix Country Club. “Maybe there’s another in me.”
Scott McCarron was in position to capture the Schwab Cup for the first time, needing only to win the final tournament of the season provided Langer didn’t make a big run and finish among the top three. Langer tied for 13th.
McCarron, however, faded badly. He hit a tee shot out-of-bounds on No. 3 to make double bogey and was never under par at any point in the final round. Needing a big finish, McCarron hit over the green into a corporate grandstand behind the 17th hole and made another double bogey.
He closed with a 72 and tied for third.
The charge came from Singh, who was holing putts from everywhere and lost track of his score until it was time to sign his card. His 61 was his lowest score by two shots on the 50-and-older circuit.
“I really didn’t think I had any chance,” Singh said.
Gaby Lopez takes Blue Bay
Gaby Lopez won the Blue Bay LPGA on Sunday for her first career title, closing with a 1-over 73 for a one-shot victory over Ariya Jutanugarn.
The LPGA Tour’s first Mexican winner since Lorena Ochoa, Lopez bogeyed the last two holes at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club to finish at 8-under 280.
Playing in a group with Lopez, No. 1-ranked Jutanugarn birdied the final hole for a 73.
Celine Boutier was two shots back after a 66.
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