Kuchar gets the fi­nal piece

The Pak Banker - - International -

PARA­MUS, N.J: Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods are happy about where they're go­ing, even if the itin­er­ary is en­tirely dif­fer­ent.

Kuchar won The Bar­clays with a sen­sa­tional shot out of the rough to beat Martin Laird with a birdie in a play­off. The vic­tory as­sures he will be at East Lake in At­lanta - which the Ge­or­gia Tech grad con­sid­ers a home course - to play the Tour Cham­pi­onship for the first time.

Woods tied for 12th and gets to go to Bos­ton for the sec­ond round of the FedEx Cup play­offs.

A small step for one, a gi­ant leap for an­other.

"There's noth­ing like the feel­ing of win­ning," said Kuchar, who moved up to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup stand­ings, No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list and a ca­reer-best No. 10 in the world rank­ing. "You feel like you're the best player in the world for this week."

And he was, with help from Laird, who needed only two putts from just in­side 25 feet to win on the fi­nal hole.

Woods hasn't won in more than nine months, a strange sen­sa­tion for a guy with 82 wins around the world. His pri­mary goal Sun­day was to do well enough to move in­side the top 100 in the FedEx Cup stand­ings to qual­ify for the sec­ond round of the play­offs at the TPC Bos­ton. He shot a 67 - the first time since the Masters that he broke 70 in the fi­nal round - and moved from No. 112 to No. 65.

Bet­ter yet, he thinks a vic­tory might not be far away.

"I haven't won all year," Woods said. "But this is a week that I was very close. I felt that if I would have putted bet­ter for all four days, I would have been right there. Look­ing for­ward to next week."

Kuchar was hav­ing his best year on the PGA Tour, missing only a vic­tory. It didn't look as though that would change at Ridge­wood.

Hav­ing closed with a 5un­der 66, play­ing his fi­nal 24 holes in reg­u­la­tion with­out a bo­gey, he headed for the prac­tice range in case it was good enough to force a play­off. Laird took the lead with a birdie on the par-5 17th, then made a ter­rific es­cape out of the rough and un­der the trees to just in­side 25 feet above the hole.

"Once he hit that great shot just to the back fringe on 18, I was pretty much shut­ting down my prac­tice ses­sions," Kuchar said. "I went over and was just a spec­ta­tor, think­ing that he's got this wrapped up." It all changed so sud­denly. -Reuters

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