Kuchar builds 4-shot lead at Mayakoba

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports - As­so­ci­ated Press

PLAYA DEL CAR­MEN, Mex­ico – Matt Kuchar had an­other rough hole and enough birdies to atone for it Satur­day, post­ing a 6-un­der 65 to open a four-shot lead in the Mayakoba Golf Clas­sic.

Kuchar hit a wild drive to the right into man­groves on the par-4 14th and had to get up-and-down to sal­vage a bo­gey. That was the only big mis­take for Kuchar, who is go­ing af­ter his first PGA Tour ti­tle in more than four years.

He saved par from just off the green at the 18th to fin­ish at 20-un­der 193, four shots ahead of Whee Kim, who had a 66.

It matches the largest 54-hole lead of Kuchar’s ca­reer.

He also led by four at the Hous­ton Open in 2014, when he wound up los­ing to Matt Jones in a play­off.

Richy Weren­ski and Danny Lee each shot 67 and were five shots back, fol­lowed by a group that in­cluded PGA Tour rookie of the year Aaron Wise (63) and Cameron Champ (69). Champ, who played in the fi­nal group with Kuchar and Lee, al­ready won this sea­son at the San­der­son Farms Cham­pi­onship.

Kuchar has been pil­ing up birdies at El Ca­ma­leon Golf Club, and he be­gan to pull away with four birdies on the front nine. Just like Fri­day, how­ever, one hole gave him stress. It was the 12th hole in the sec­ond round, when he had to make a 35foot bo­gey putt. On Satur­day, it was a tee shot on the 14th. Kuchar took a penalty from the hazard, and dropped in a good lie a few inches next to the cart path.

In­stead of tak­ing re­lief into deeper rough, he hit with his feet on the path and picked it clean so his fair­way metal wouldn’t smack into the ce­ment. It came up just short of the green, and he chipped to 5 feet and made the bo­gey putt.

Kuchar re­sponded with a tee shot to 4 feet on the par-3 15th to re­store his mar­gin to four shots, and he caught a break on the last hole when he pulled his ap­proach, but it struck a tree and came down in light rough to set up a sim­ple upand-down.

Champ was try­ing to get into the fi­nal group for Sun­day with a par on the last hole, but his wedge came out hot from the rough and rolled through the green, his chip came out heavy and he three­p­utted for dou­ble bo­gey.

Ry­der Cup cap­tain Jim Furyk had a 66 and was at 13-un­der 200. Also seven shots be­hind was Anir­ban Lahiri of In­dia, who was tied with Kuchar early on the front line and still in the mix un­til a dou­ble bo­gey on the 14th hole and a bo­gey on the 16th. He had to set­tle for a 69.

Eu­ro­pean

SUN CITY, South Africa – Ser­gio Garcia leads by two strokes go­ing into the fi­nal round of the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge and is on course for a wire-to-wire win at the penul­ti­mate event of the Eu­ro­pean Tour sea­son.

Garcia im­proved his 1-shot overnight lead over Louis Oosthuizen, al­though the gap would have been big­ger if not for a two-shot swing Oosthuizen’s way on the fi­nal hole of the third round at Gary Player Coun­try Club on Satur­day.

Garcia bo­geyed No. 18 for the sec­ond straight round af­ter send­ing his ap­proach into the grand­stand. He signed for a 1-un­der 71 and 10 un­der over­all. Oosthuizen made birdie on the last to fin­ish with a 72 and two off Garcia when he was four be­hind on the last tee.

Thomas Detry, Mikko Korho­nen and two-time Ned­bank win­ner Lee West­wood are tied for third, three shots off the lead on 7 un­der. Ross Fisher is a fur­ther shot back.

Garcia birdied his sec­ond and third holes but found it tough at the back end of his round again, with his way­ward ap­proach to the last green fly­ing high into the rows of spec­ta­tors up on the stands.

LPGA

HAINAN IS­LAND, China – Gaby Lopez won her first LPGA Tour event with a 1over 73 to fin­ish one shot ahead of Ariya Ju­tanu­garn in the Blue Bay tour­na­ment in China.

Lopez had bo­geys on the last two holes at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club on Satur­day and al­most let the ti­tle slip away. She fin­ished at 8-un­der 280.

Play­ing in a group with Lopez, No. 1ranked Ju­tanu­garn had a birdie on the fi­nal hole to also fin­ish on 73.

Ce­line Boutier shot a 66 and fin­ished two shots off the lead.

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