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Kooooch vs. Luuuuuuke

by Brian Hewitt

First a promise: There will be no phrases turned badly in this space today. As in: He laid an egg (choked). Or: She missed a bunny (short putt).

Easter Sunday deserves better.

So:

Matt Kuchar is officially now … take a deep breath: Thebestplayernevertohavewonamajorwhoshouldhavewonatleastthree-timesthisyearandcouldhavewonfourbynow.

To explain:

Three weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open, Kuchar led early Sunday before making a mess of the back nine and failing to close. Seven days later at the Shell Houston Open, a par on the 72nd would have won. He made bogey. Then in the final round of The Masters he was tied for the lead after three holes only to four-putt the fourth.

Undaunted and unbowed, if a little bit bloodied, Kuchar finally broke through Sunday at Harbour Town, where he raced off to seven birdies in his first 10 holes and hung on for victory.

Along the way, he survived a three-putt from 4 feet at 17 only because he holed a bunker shot for birdie at the last to hold off England’s charging Luke Donald.

All of which makes him undisputedly the hottest player in the game at the moment.

Around the rest of the golf world last week another Brit, England’s Lee Westwood, romped to victory in Malaysia where the early-week story was the hornet swarm that chased Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal into a lake. He survived and continued playing. Fellow Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez had better entomological luck, winning in his Champions Tour debut in Georgia.

Finally, Hawaiian Michelle Wie won in her home state and continued a resurgence that means only good things on a suddenly more balanced LPGA Tour.

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