Matt Kuchar leads Sony Open by two shots after 54 holes
14 January, 2019, 08:10 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Putnam took a one-shot lead after Kuchar dropped three bogeys in his first five holes but could not keep pace on the back nine where he stalled at even par while Kuchar was on fire.
Kuchar, 40, claimed his second win of the season - the ninth of his career - when he overcame a shaky start to post a closing four-under-par 66 and finish at 22-under 258, four shots clear of countryman Andrew Putnam (68).
Fellow American Keith Mitchell matched the day's best score, a seven-birdie 63, to jump into a tie for third with Chez Reavie (66), four shots behind Kuchar, who has made just one bogey through 54 holes.
Putnam, who won his first PGA Tour title last summer at the Barracuda Championship, didn't blink until that approach into the bunker that led to his lone bogey, and he couldn't make enough putts to stay close to Kuchar the rest of the way.
Runner-up Andrew Putnam closed with a two-under-par 68 that left him at 18-under.
"Kuch is playing well, so I feel like I've got to get out there and make some birdies if it's not too windy", Putnam said.
"It was not at all what I was looking for", Kuchar told Golf Channel of his start.
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Kuchar was at 14-under 126, matching the lowest 36-hole score of his PGA Tour career.
"I knew good things were going to happen". He won the Match Play Championship and the Memorial in 2013. He carded one under overall after rounds of 73 and a much-improved 66 in his first event of 2019. Along with his runner-up finish in the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall, he has almost as many FedEx Cup points as past year when he finished at No. 130.
Canada's Corey Connors made it a four-way tie for third as he also signed off with a 64, while 54-year-old veteran Davis Love III hit back from an early mistake with six birdies in a commendable 65 that saw him finish in outright seventh.
Kuchar, who had been winless for almost four years until his win at the Mayakoba Classic late in 2018 now appears likely to add a 9th PGA Tour title just three months after his 8th.
Kuchar had gone more than four years since his last PGA Tour victory before he won in Mexico.
"Certainly a year ago was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is insane to comprehend", Kuchar said.
Matt Kuchar made it look easy Saturday in the Sony Open. Needing to birdie the last four holes to qualify for the weekend, he ran off two birdies, missed a 3m birdie putt and then narrowly missed chipping in for eagle.
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