In his maiden visit to Singapore for the SMBC Singapore Open, American Matt Kuchar not only drew the crowds to the Sentosa Golf Club but also gave everyone a lesson on mental fortitude, as this review on the Asian Tour website shows.
With a commanding four-shot lead before stepping up to the 587 yard par-five seventh hole, Kuchar would have his advantage instantly wiped out with a triple-bogey eight on the same hole which he had breezed through easily with an eagle, birdie and birdie in his first three rounds.
The American showed tremendous resilience though to recover as he fired three birdies over the next 11 holes to win the iconic Singapore showpiece which would have been the second of the four events played on the Asian Tour before the global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the season.
We revisited that glorious Sunday for Kuchar and hear what he had to say about his victory in Singapore again.
“Golf and life have a lot of similarities. When you face difficult times, it’s how you persevere and overcome those things,” Matt Kuchar told the Asian Tour.
“To make a great turnaround and play a great back nine to close out the tournament with birdies on the 16th and 18th was a real thrill. I’m awfully proud of being able to bounce back from adversity and not let hard things get the better of me.
“Seven was a disastrous hole to make triple bogey there. I felt like I was cruising along and had a four-shot lead at that point and it was awfully comfortable. I played a tee-shot that I thought was a conservative shot, just a little up the left side, and it ended up finding its way between a few trees”, he said.
“I swung and missed as the ball was wedged among the roots and then I had to step up and actually try to swing and hit that ball on the next shot. I got it out but the next one hits the cart path and goes into the leaves and I have to take a penalty drop.
“I finally managed to put it on the green where I had to line up an 80-footer up to 10 feet for a triple knowing that Jazz is about to make birdie. And if he made that birdie, I would need to make triple just to tie with him.
“That 10-footer was a big, big putt to make. A 10-footer is an easy one to miss and a great putt to make. It was a bit of a wake-up call as I was playing good golf then and all of a sudden you’re all square”, he continued.
“There was another par-five on the 18th where I was playing conservative with the water on the left. My ball went to the right and found the bunker which I thought was a fine place to be. But I could only play a standard greenside blast out of the bunker and was faced with a shot of about 230 yards. I knew I only needed a bogey to win and of course I hit a fantastic shot to about 20-feet.
“There are certainly a lot of great players here on this Tour, so it feels fantastic to come out on top.
“It’s fantastic to travel around the world and come to a great city like Singapore. I had the chance to play a great golf course and also test my game against some great, great players that we don’t often see in the United States,” Kuchar concluded.