Kuchar gets the final piece
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