Kuchar captures Players title

Kuchar

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The only complaint about Matt Kuchar was not winning enough. He picked up a big one Sunday at The Players Championship.

Kuchar avoided the big mistakes that slowed so many other contenders — starting with Kevin Na — and kept it out of the water on the TPC Sawgrass to eliminate the kind of drama he didn’t need. He closed with a 2-under 70 for a two-shot victory.

That famous smile, which he first showed the golf world as an amateur in 1998 competing on the biggest stages, was brighter than ever as Kuchar tapped in for par.

He celebrated on the 18th green with his wife and two sons, and shared a hug and a high-five with his mother.

His parents moved to Ponte Vedra Beach and Kuchar stayed with them all week. Coming off the green, he said he was “about to buckle” after such a week. Just like his golf on a dangerous Stadium Course, he kept it together.

“It’s such an amazing feeling — playing amongst the game’s best, to come out on top, to do it on Mother’s Day ... it really is magical,” Kuchar said.

Ricardo Santos shot a 9-under 63 to win the Madeira Islands Open by four strokes, becoming the first Portuguese-born golfer to win on the European Tour in his home country.

Santos set a championship record of 22 under on the Santa da Serra course. Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson shot a 67 and was runner-up.