American Matt Kuchar held his nerve to win the Players Championship at Sawgrass by two shots.
The 33-year-old started the final day one shot behind countryman Kevin Na and despite bogeying his opening hole, fired four birdies to finish on 13-under par.
Scotland’s Martin Laird finished in a tie for second on 11-under par with last week’s winner Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis.
England’s Luke Donald Donald shot 30 on the back nine to record a final round of 66 to finish alone in sixth. He needed a top-four finish to overtake Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings after the Northern Irishman missed the cut.
Kuchar, whose last win came at the 2010 Barclays Championship, where he beat Laird in a play-off, saved a shot with a gutsy par putt at the third and then came close to an eagle at the fourth, but had to be content with a birdie. He then hit a lovely approach to the ninth, leaving him with a relatively easy putt before another birdie at the 12th.
He picked up another shot at the 16th, and not even a dropped shot at the 17th could halt his charge as he claimed the biggest win of his career to move up to third in the US Ryder Cup standings.
“You think of this as one of the strongest fields in golf,” Kuchar said. “To come out as the champion is just an amazing feeling.”
“I think one of the things that strikes me is walking through the champions’ tunnel every day. I can't help but stop and gaze at all the photos going through champions’ tunnel, and to think I’m going to be a part of that with Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Tiger Woods - it's all the best of the best.
“To feel like I’m going to see my picture up there next year is pretty cool.”
PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL LEADERBOARD (US UNLESS STATED)
-13: M Kuchar -11: M Laird (Sco), Z Johnson, B Curtis, R Fowler -9: L Donald (Eng) Selected others: -8: K Na -5: M Kaymer (Ger) -3: I Poulter (Eng), P Mickelson, B Davis (Eng) -1: T Woods +2: J Rose (Eng) +4: L Westwood (Eng)
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