It wasn't the most pleasant day for golf -- temperatures in the 50s and wind at or over 25 mph for much of the day -- but that didn't keep Kuchar and Mahan from trading jabs and haymakers for three hours.
First, Kuchar stared down a historical Mahan run on hole No. 4:
The streak ends for Mahan. He trails for the first time at the Match Play in 169 holes. #1Down— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) February 24, 2013
And Mahan flinched thereafter. The defending champ bogeyed holes No. 4, 5 and 6 as Kuchar went three up early in their front nine.
Mahan got a hole back early on the back as he parred No. 10 and Kuchar bogeyed. Then Kuchar hit a monster putt on the par-3 No. 12 to keep his two-up lead as both golfers birdied.
Kuchar birdied No. 13, then Mahan hammered back with a useful approach on No. 14 to 18 inches. The two were engaged at this point. Despite multiple breaks for wind changes it seemed like each golfer was totally locked in on the $1.5 million prize.
Kuchar made a potentially large mistake on No. 15, pitching 12 feet past but made his comeback birdie to stay up two. It was his 10th one-putt of the match.
Then Kuchar destroyed a 4-iron on the par-3 No. 16 about 30 yards over the green and had to hit a lob wedge over a TV tower coming back. Needless to say, Mahan won the hole to get within one.
But the match ended on No. 17 when Mahan buried his ball in a fairway bunker and Kuchar stuck his approach to four feet. Mahan went from the sand to the desert and finally conceded to Kuchar after his fourth shot. Kuchar won 2 and 1.