Kuchar mostly in control
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Matt Kuchar knew he was in trouble when his tee shot sailed so far to the right that he hit a provisional in case the ball was out-ofbounds.
He found the ball and somehow never lost the lead.
Kuchar escaped his only big mess Friday with a 35-foot bogey putt on the 12th hole and he rode eight birdies to a seven-under-par 64 that gave him a two-shot lead over PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ going into the weekend at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Champ, going after his second victory in three weeks, played in the morning and shot 62 with a bogey on his final hole.
Kuchar was at 14-under 128 as he tries to end more than four years without a PGA Tour victory.
“Yesterday was kind of a bogeyfree day and just easy and everything else today was about the same,” he said. “I just had that one challenging hole.”
Two weeks after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi, long-hitting Champ worked on a few tweaks in his swing and was in full control of where the ball was going. For the second straight day, Champ missed only two fairways, key to good scoring at Mayakoba.
“It’s not a bomber’s course,” Champ said. “You have to place it off the tee, and some holes the rough is very thick and you’ve just got to whack it out. This course I feel like is very suitable for everyone. Just to be able to place my
ball right in the fairways and on the greens and make the putts when I needed is great.”
The seven players at 11-under 131 included defending champion Patton Kizzire, past Mayakoba champion Brian Gay and Anirban Lahiri of India, who has played in the last two Presidents Cups. Eighteen players were within five shots of the lead.
Three-time major champion Jordan Spieth missed the cut of four-under 138 in his final event of the year after a 69. Spieth managed only eight birdies in good scoring conditions and will have the weekend off for the seventh time this year. Next up is his wedding over Thanksgiving weekend.
HAINAN ISLAND, China — Gaby Lopez turned 25 on Friday and celebrated with a hole-in-one
that helped her to a six-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Ariya Jutanugarn after the third round of the Blue Bay LPGA tournament.
Lopez will be after her first career U.S. LPGA Tour victory in the final round on Saturday and will play in the last group with Jutanugarn, the No. 1-ranked golfer. They also played together on Friday at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club.
“I have been waiting for this moment,” the Mexican said. “I’m very lucky to share the course with the best player in the world. You know, I had fun. I enjoyed today.”
Lopez aced the 17th, knocking in a 7-iron from 181 yards. She also had six birdies including three to open the round.
Jutanugarn, of Thailand, led by four strokes after the second round but slipped to a 71, which included a bogey on the final hole.
Matt Kuchar celebrates a birdie on the 15th hole with his caddie during the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.