Poulter rising but Kuchar takes glory

Yeovil Express: Matt Kuchar is not looking too far ahead after winning in Arizona (AP) Matt Kuchar is not looking too far ahead after winning in Arizona (AP)

Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter are both back in the world's top 10, but it is the American who is really celebrating.

The 34-year-old beat holder Hunter Mahan in Tucson on Sunday night to become Accenture Match Play champion and collect a first prize of almost £965,000.

Kuchar will doubtless now see his odds shorten for the US Masters in April, but said: "My sights are not yet set on Augusta. Every week is a great opportunity and the next tournament is the most important to me."

Poulter, winner in 2010, had to settle for fourth place after losing first to Mahan in the semi-finals and then to Australian Jason Day in the third place play-off.

Both Poulter and Kuchar now go on to next week's Cadillac Championship in Miami, the second of this season's world championships and the one lifted by Justin Rose 12 months ago.

Poulter, trying to make it back-to-back world crowns after his triumph at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last November, went down 4&3 to Mahan.

An inspired 20-yard chip-in from over the short 12th proved the decisive moment.

"It's a shame really and disappointing," Poulter said. "Hunter played very solid and chipped unbelievably well."

The Englishman had hopes of pulling back to only one down when he was the one to find the green on the 12th, but instead he fell three behind.

"It just looked perfect as soon as I hit it and it trickled in," said Mahan, whose duffed chip in the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor allowed Graeme McDowell to clinch the match for Europe.

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