While the focus was on Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood potentially taking over the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, Hunter Mahan (@HunterMahan) was quietly taking care of business. Mahan finished it off by taking down McIlroy 2&1 on Sunday afternoon to earn his first victory since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Mahan's Road To Victory
Mahan started the event ranked 21st in the OWGR and was the #6 seed in what some considered the "Bracket of Death"- The Ben Hogan Bracket.
In round one Mahan face the #11 seed, Zach Johnson. It looked as though Mahan would make an early exit as he quickly fell 2-down to Johnson through the first five holes. He went on to win holes six and seven to bring the match to even and was 1-up through 16 before Johnson made birdie on the 17th to win. It took extra holes but on the 19th Mahan closed out the match in what would be his only trip to the 18th hole all week.
After going the distance with Johnson, Mahan faced the #14 seed Y.E. Yang. Yang had defeated the #3 seed, Graeme McDowell in round one and was looking for another upset. After finding himself down early again, Mahan put won holes 4 thru 8 and 13 thru 15 to breeze to a 5&3 victory and move on to the third round.
Mahan's third match was against fellow American Steve Stricker. Stricker, ranked 5th in the OWGR, was the #2 seed in the bracket and the first opponent seeded higher than Mahan. For the first time in the tournament it was Mahan who would take the lead and he didn't look back making quick work of Stricker, 4&3.
His win over Stricker earned him the right to play another talented American, Matt Kuchar. Kuchar had knocked off the #1 seed in the bracket, Martin Kaymer, to advance and face Mahan. In what was a highly anticipated match, Mahan left little doubt as he blew Kuchar away with 6&5 victory. Mahan made six birdies and didn't lose a single hole in closing out the match on the 13th hole.
In the semifinals Mahan went head-to-head with the winner of the Bobby Jones Bracket, Mark Wilson. Wilson proved to be the toughest test for Mahan since the first round as the two exchanged birdies and holes as the match went on. A birdie on the 15th by Mahan put him 2-up and he would go on to win 2&1.
The win earned Mahan $1,400,000 along with 550 FedEx Cup points. He jumped 13 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings and is now ranked 9th.