Kooch wins with bunker birdie

Matt Kuchar holed a bunker shot for birdie in front of the iconic lighthouse on the 18th hole to beat Luke Donald by one stroke in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

Kuchar, who had been in the hunt three consecutive weeks without winning, closed with a 7-under-par 64, even though he missed a three-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that dropped him into a tie with Donald.

“The putt on 17, the wind was blowing pretty hard and I thought I hit a good putt, but the wind just pushed it out of the hole,” said Kuchar, who claimed his seventh PGA Tour victory. “I thought that was like a two-shot swing right there.

“I wasn’t really disappointed to be in the bunker on 18; it’s not the worst place to be. … I told my caddie before that last shot, ‘I’m about due to make one of these.’ It’s a pretty easy up and down, to say the least, and it was pretty cool to see the ball go in the hole.”

Donald, the former No. 1 player in the world who was trying to win for the first time since the 2012 Transitions Championship, took a two-shot lead into the final round and closed with a 69. He needed a birdie on the last hole to force a playoff, but missed the green and chipped his third shot four feet past the hole.

John Huh of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge, whose only victory came in the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic, closed with a 68 and tied for third, two strokes back, with Ben Martin, who had a 67.

Scott Brown, who captured the Puerto Rico Open earlier this season, finished with a 67 and tied for fifth with Brian Stuard, who had a 68.

Jim Furyk, who won the 2010 Heritage, shot 70 and tied for seventh, another shot back, with Brian Harman, who came in at 69.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell closed with a 70 and tied for 23rd.

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