* Wins playoff with birdie on first sudden-death hole
* Crowns year of near-misses with spectacular shot to win
American Matt Kuchar hit a spectacular recovery shot to win a playoff against Martin Laird of Britain at the first hole to claim the Barclays title on Sunday in the opening leg of the FedExCup playoffs.
After hitting his drive into heavy rough on the left side, Kuchar punched a low approach shot that landed short of the green, hopped on and rolled to the back before turning left and following a slope down toward the cup.
Kuchar sank the three-foot putt for a winning birdie at the 470-yard par-four 18th and raised his arms in triumph.
"That shot came out beautifully," said Kuchar. "That was an exciting way to cap off this tournament."
Laird had opened the door for his rival when he bogeyed the final hole of regulation, three-putting from 23 feet after missing a seven-footer for par.
Kuchar (66), who claimed his third U.S. Tour win, and Laird (71) finished their rounds tied on 12-under 272.
Americans Steve Stricker (66) and Kevin Streelman (68) tied for third place on 10-under-par 274, while Tiger Woods ensured his place in next week's FedExCup Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston by shooting 67 for 277 and a tie for 12th.
The 27-year-old Laird, who led by three strokes after the third round, looked on his way to victory when he birdied his first two holes on Sunday before falling back with double-bogey at the par-five third hole and another bogey at the next.
The Scot two-putted for birdie at the penultimate hole to reclaim a one-stroke lead over Kuchar but slid back with the bogey at the 72nd hole.
"Obviously not the finish I was looking for," said Laird, who won last year's PGA stop in Las Vegas. "But I'm very proud of the way I played today. I didn't feel like I had my best game."
It was the first win of a sterling season for Kuchar, who had clinched his U.S. Ryder Cup debut by registering 10 top 10 finishes, including a tie for sixth at the U.S. Open and for 10th at this month's PGA Championship, coming into the tournament.
"It's been an awesome year," said 32-year-old Kuchar, the former U.S. Amateur champion. "I knew if I kept putting myself in contention that I would break through."