Kuchar leads Sony Open by 2 shots

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Numbers Game - By DOUG FER­GU­SON

HONOLULU — Matt Kuchar kept an­other clean card and shot a 4-un­der 66 to take a two-shot lead into the fi­nal round of the Sony Open, a chance to win twice in one PGA Tour sea­son for only the se­cond time in his ca­reer.

Kuchar ended a four-year drought by win­ning the Mayakoba Clas­sic in Mex­ico last fall, and there are a few sim­i­lar­i­ties. He set a per­sonal record for 54 holes in Mayakoba at 193. He went one bet­ter at Wa­ialae at 18-un­der 192.

Both cour­ses re­quire keep­ing the ball in play, and Kuchar has done that well over three rounds. He has made only one bo­gey through 54 holes, and he only came se­ri­ously close to one on Satur­day, sav­ing par from the bunker on the par-3 17th.

“Good, steady golf,” Kuchar said. “It felt easy out there. I didn’t find my­self in any trou­ble.”

An­drew Put­nam was shots be­hind af­ter a 67.

Keith Mitchell had a 63 to pull within four shots, along with Chez Reavie, who fell back with three straight bo­geys early on the back nine. Those were the two only play­ers within five shots of the lead, and all of them are chasing Kuchar.

“I an­tic­i­pate need­ing an­other good score to­mor­row,” Kuchar said. “I know I can’t coast.”

Kuchar is 2-2 when he has the 54-hole lead go­ing into the fi­nal round.

The only other time Kuchar won twice in the same sea­son was in 2013, when he won the Match Play Cham­pi­onship in Arizona in Fe­bru­ary and the Memo­rial in early June. That put him at No. 4 in the world, the high­est he has been in his ca­reer.

Kuchar was slid­ing his way out of the top 50 to­ward the end

“Didn’t feel as easy as the first two days,” Put­nam said. “Still played a good round. Still got a chance.”

Bryson Decham­beau had a 63 and led a large pack at 11-un­der 199, seven shots out of the lead for a slim chance at win­ning un­less the lead­ers come back to the field. Also tied for fifth were Charles How­ell III and 54-yearold Davis Love III, who had one of his bet­ter putting rounds.

Kuchar was at his best on a num­ber of putts from the 50-foot range. He didn’t make any, but he didn’t leave him­self any work for par. That added to the stress­free feel­ing of a round, and the overall con­trol he feels in his game.

He never looks to be un­der stress, though Kuchar says looks can be de­ceiv­ing.

“I’ve got gray hair,” he said with a laugh. “Lis­ten, the game of golf is not easy. It’s not of­ten you’re in full con­trol. Those times you’re not in full con­trol, you’re faced with a lot of sit­u­a­tions where golf is go­ing to find a way to stress you out and test you. I’ve been through it. But I en­joy the chal­lenge even when you’re not play­ing well of try­ing to fig­ure out shoot­ing a score. I en­joy that chal­lenge.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.