Mahan stops McIlroy’s march to No. 1 rankingMARANA, Arizona - Hunter Mahan stopped Rory McIlroy’s march to No. 1 by winning the Match Play Championship on Sunday.
Mahan won four holes in a five-hole stretch starting with a 9-iron to two feet within the sixth hole, building a 4-up lead through 10 holes. Even as McIlroy threw his best stuff at him on the back nine, Mahan responded with two clutch birdies to stay in control.
Mahan won, 2 and 1, to capture his second World Golf Championship title.
McIlroy defeated Lee Westwood in the semifinals Sunday morning, a high-stakes match because if either of them won the Match Play Championship, they would replace Luke Donald atop the world ranking. But Mahan made sure that didn’t happen this week.
The American played 96 holes in his six matches and had 35 birdies on his scorecards. Mahan defeated Mark Wilson in his semifinal match - Wilson was his only opponent all week who had not played in a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup.
Mahan became the first American to win the Match Play Championship since Tiger Woods in 2008. He became only the sixth player to win multiple WGC titles, joining Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Darren Clarke.