Kuchar came up with one more clutch shot. With a 2-up lead on the 304-yard 15th hole, the breeze at his back, Kuchar chipped about 10 feet past the hole with Mahan only 6 feet away for birdie. Kuchar holed the putt and escaped with a halve.
Mahan won the 16th with a two-putt par when Kuchar's tee shot bounced off the corporate tents behind the green, and it looked as though the match would go down the 18th for the first time in nine matches for Kuchar. Both hit into the fairway bunker on 17, but Mahan's ball was slightly sunk in the sand, and his approach never came close to reaching the green. Instead, it rolled through a patch of desert until it lodged in a bush.
Kuchar's record in this event improved to 15-3, the highest winning percentage of anyone who has played at least 10 matches. He has reached the quarterfinals each of the last three years, and this time went all the way.
In the semifinals Sunday morning, when the wind chill hit a low of 37 degrees with the wind, Kuchar had no trouble against Jason Day in a 4-and-3 win.
Mahan hit a series of remarkable wedge shots in beating Poulter, 4 and 3, in his semifinal. He twice hit difficult chips inside 5 feet to win holes, and then seized control with a chip-in from about 70 feet on the 12th hole to take command.
Day defeated Poulter in the consolation match, 1 up.
It was the first all-American final in five years at the Match Play Championship, and Kuchar's win gave the Americans a clean sweep of the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing for the second straight year.
He moves to No. 8 in the world and picked up $1.5 million, and now has earned just over $3.2 million from his last two wins.
Kuchar and Woods are the only former U.S. Amateur champions to win the Match Play Championship. Kuchar won the Amateur in 1997, the year after Woods turned pro. He recalls being in the semifinals with three Walker Cup players and feeling out of his league.
That wasn't the case this year, even against Mahan. Collectively, they have a 27-4 record at this event the last three years.
"The difference today I think is just all that experience now," Kuchar said. "I step up to a first tee and I feel confident and I feel like I belong out here. Back in '97, I was so new to it, I wasn't sure I belonged. I loved being out there, but it was ... I was way more nervous than I am today. "
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