Kuchar grabs Sony golfest lead

Tempo - - Comics -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AFP) – Amer­i­can Matt Kuchar used a hot start to shoot his sec­ond-straight 63 and grab the half­way stage lead Fri­day at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open by one stroke over An­drew Put­nam.

Kuchar made birdie on his first three holes then closed with his sixth birdie of the day to move to 14-un­der 126 at the Wa­ialae Coun­try Club course.

The 40-year-old is aim­ing for his sec­ond win in three starts on the Tour af­ter claim­ing the Mayakoba Golf Clas­sic ear­lier this sea­son. Win­ning the Mayakoba ended a long win­less drought that stretched back to 2014.

“Just two great days. To shoot sev­e­nun­der backto-back is un­ex­pected, but cer­tainly aw­fully ex­cit­ing,’’ said Kuchar, who fin­ished his front nine by mak­ing an ea­gle on the par-five hole.

Kuchar is one shot clear of Put­nam who fired a five-un­der 65 and four strokes ahead of Ste­wart Cink and Chez Reavie who shot 62 and 65 re­spec­tively in the Tour’s first full-field event of 2019.

Kuchar has been one of the most con­sis­tent play­ers on the Tour over the past few years, fin­ish­ing in the top 20 in FedEx Cup stand­ings in 2017, 2016 and 2015. Last sea­son, he slipped to 76th, his worst re­sult since be­ing 116th in 2008.

He said get­ting an early win in the new sea­son gives him added con­fi­dence.

‘’Last year I prob­a­bly ground harder than I’ve done in the past,’’ he said. ‘’I was on the out­side of a cou­ple of things and felt like I hadn’t been used to be­ing in that sit­u­a­tion.

MATT Kuchar

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