Kuchar up to challenge as he fends off late Chappell charge to claim Memorial

25-feet putt at last seals two-shot victory

Matt Kuchar tees off the third hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Darron Cummings/AP Photo

Matt Kuchar tees off the third hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Darron Cummings/AP Photo

 

Leading by four shots with two holes to play, overnight leader Matt Kuchar had to survive a late charge from American compatriot Kevin Chappell before winning the Memorial Tournament by just one shot at Muirfield Village.

After birdies on 13, 15 and 17 brought Chappell to within two of the leader, the Californian pitched to within three feet to set up yet another birdie putt, and really put the pressure on Kuchar.

The man from Winter Park, Florida, was up to the challenge, however, as he knocked in a putt from 25 feet for birdie to finish on 12-under, after shooting 68..

Chappell holed for birdie putt, to also finish with a 68, and on 10-under, three ahead of fellow American Kyle Stanley, in third place.

Scott Stallings had earlier emerged as a surprise challenger to leader Kuchar early in the final round at Muirfield Village.

Kuchar went into the day with a two-stroke lead over Chappell and Stanley and continued his impressive form, moving three shots clear of the field after 16 holes of his final round, on 11 under par.

Five successive birdies
Stallings, who looked to have dropped well out of contention with a round of 75 yesterday, played the front nine in five under par with a run of five successive birdies from the fourth hole.

And when another followed at the 10th he was alone in second on seven under par, two shots behind Kuchar. However, late bogies on the 16th and 18th brought him back to six-under.

Rory McIlroy didn’t make up much ground after his a final round 72 left him locked on six over par.

He did finish two shots better off than world number one Tiger Woods, who also signed off from Dublin, Ohio, with a 72.

Triple bogey
Woods, the defending and five-time champ of the Memorial Tournament, did manage to recover somewhat after after opening with a bogey and a triple bogey in his first four holes yesterday.

Starting on the back nine, the world number one had a triple-bogey six at the 12th and dropped another shot two holes later, but birdied the 15th and 17th.

Over 72 holes this week, Woods had five double bogeys or worse, tying the 2011 PGA Championship for the most in that dubious category.

Leader Kuchar began with a birdie after holing from 14 feet and though he gave the shot back at the par-three fourth, he was on in two at the par-five next.

His eagle putt ran just through but he tapped in for birdie to go to nine under.