Kuchar rules Sony Open golfest

The Freeman - - SPORTS -

US vet­eran Matt Kuchar shook off a slow start and pulled away for a four-shot vic­tory over An­drew Put­nam in the US PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii.

Kuchar birdied six of his last 10 holes in a four-un­der par 66 at Wa­ialae Coun­try Club in Hon­olulu, fin­ish­ing the week with a 22-un­der par to­tal of 258.

The 40-year-old four-time Ry­der Cup team mem­ber -- who won a bronze medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics -- won for the sec­ond time in the 2018-19 sea­son after his vic­tory in the Mayakoba Clas­sic in Novem­ber.

"Boy, to win two out of three events -- it's crazy to com­pre­hend," said Kuchar, who missed the Tour Cham­pi­onship last year for the first time in eight years but has now taken his tally of US PGA Tour ti­tles to nine.

He led by two go­ing into the fi­nal round, three bo­geys in his first five holes saw the usu­ally steady Kuchar, who had just one bo­gey in the first three rounds, sur­ren­der the lead to Put­nam.

"It was not at all what I was look­ing for," Kuchar said, adding that he just told him­self to stay con­fi­dent. "Some of those bo­geys -- there was a three-putt and a bad wedge shot. That's just so un­char­ac­ter­is­tic."

Sure enough he snapped out of it.

A birdie at the ninth saw him make the turn level with Put­nam -- who had two birdies in his first nine holes.

Kuchar added birdies at 10, 12, 15, 16 and the par-five 18th to seal the win as Put­nam, who was tied for the lead after a birdie at 13, bo­geyed 14 from a bunker on the way to a two-un­der 68 for solo sec­ond on 262.

"An­drew was tough," Kuchar said. "He was bat­tling me, took the lead and it was nice to have that pres­sure and come through, make some birdies com­ing in.

"Get­ting that birdie on 15, get­ting that birdie on 16 -- man that made 18 aw­fully nice to play," added the Amer­i­can, who is now well on his way to mak­ing a fifth US Pres­i­dents Cup team.

Aus­tralian Marc Leish­man had six birdies in a six-un­der 64 to share third place on 17-un­der 263 with Cana­dian Corey Con­ners and Amer­i­cans Hud­son Swaf­ford and Chez Reavie.

Swaf­ford also signed for a bo­gey-free 64, while Con­ners had seven birdies and a bo­gey in his six-un­der ef­fort and Reavie closed with a three-un­der 67.

It was a fur­ther stroke back to Davis Love, who fin­ished solo sev­enth with a 65 for 264.

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