European Tour

Kuchar triumphs in Hero Challenge at Edinburgh Castle

Matt Kuchar (Getty Images)
Matt Kuchar (Getty Images)

Cape Town - America's Matt Kuchar claimed the first Hero Challenge title of 2018 against the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

The European Tour's fast and fun night golf event pitted six of the stars of this week's Scottish Open against each other in the target golf contest at the world-famous visitor attraction.

A vocal crowd of more than 4 000 fans created an electric atmosphere at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo's extraordinary amphitheatre in front of Edinburgh Castle - a key part of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site - as Kuchar defeated countryman Charley Hoffman in the final.

The unique event - which was broadcast live on Sky Sports and attracted over 500 000 viewers to the official live stream on Twitter - kicked off with two groups of three players taking aim from a specially built platform at a target 80 metres away on the castle esplanade.

Defending Scottish Open champion Rafa Cabrera Bello and English Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter saw off the challenge of rising Indian star Shubhankar Sharma, and despite the backing of the passionate home support, Scotland's Richie Ramsay also exited at the group stage as Hoffman and Kuchar set up semi-final clashes with Cabrera Bello and Poulter respectively.

There were signs of what was to come as Kuchar defeated Poulter with the help of the first bullseye of the night in the second semi-final. He then repeated the feat in the final in an impressive display of accuracy - even having enough of a points cushion to hand his final ball of the night to host Vernon Kay and take to the mic as the two swapped roles.

"It is just an amazing venue, what a cool backdrop. The amount of fans and the energy that was here tonight just made it really exciting to be part of this event," said Kuchar.

"I think there was some luck involved in the bullseyes. I'm surprised it went my way as much as it did. It was the luck of the bounce a little bit but I certainly had the distance and direction looking good.

"Getting a bit of the luck was awfully nice to end it with a bullseye there. I'm looking forward to taking this Hero Challenge trophy home - my kids will love it!"

The Scottish Open will tee it up in Gullane from July 12-15.

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