Kuchar leads at Mayakoba by four shots
For three days, Matt Kuchar has felt in total control of his game at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It shows in his score.
For the second day in a row, Kuchar had enough birdies to atone for one rough hole, and it carried him to a 6-under-par 65 to set the 54-hole tournament record and build a fourshot lead as he tries to end more than four years without a PGA Tour victory.
Kuchar was at 20-under 193, breaking by three shots his personal best on the tour, and by one shot is 54-hole score to par.
“I felt really, really good for three days,” Kuchar said. “I mean, 20-under is my best 54-hole total. I felt in control of my ball striking. I felt in control of driving, the iron play, the putting. It’s been a great three days.”
Kuchar saved par from just off the green at the 18th to keep his four-shot margin over Whee Kim, who had a 66.
The last time Kuchar had a four-shot lead going into the final round was the 2014 Houston Open, and he wound up losing in a playoff when Matt Jones made a 45-foot birdie putt on the last hole and then chipped in from 40 yards in a playoff.
The other two times Kuchar had the 54-hole lead, he won the Memorial in 2013 one week after losing a one-shot lead at Colonial.
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 in Sun City, South Africa.
Garcia bogeyed No. 18 for the second round in a row 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 at 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.
Oosthuizen took advantage with just his second birdie of the day, al- though he benefited from a fortunate kick off the right fringe of the green to set up his birdie putt.
Garcia is seeking a second straight win after triumphing at home at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, and a victory by the Spaniard would be the second wire-to-wire success of the season after Eddie Pepperell at the British Masters. Garcia has won twice at Sun City, but the last of those two titles was in 2003.
Detry is in contention after the young Belgian produced another birdiefilled back nine as he picked up shots on four of his last six holes for his 68.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Scott McCarron moved into position to win the PGA Tour Champions’ season points race, birdieing the final two holes for a one-stroke lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
McCarron shot a 5-under 66 on another warm and sunny day at Phoenix Country Club. One of six players fighting for the Charles Schwab Cup and a $1 million annuity, McCarron had an 18-under 195 total.
McCarron, 53, fifth in the points standings entering the finale, has eight victories on the 50-andover tour, winning twice this year. He won three times on the PGA Tour.
Stephen Ames and Tim Petrovic were tied for second. Ames had a 61. He birdied four of the first five holes and closed birdiepar-birdie-eagle. Petrovic shot 66.
Gaby Lopez won her first LPGA Tour event with a 1-over 73 to finish one shot ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn in the Blue Bay tournament in Hainan Island, 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. 1-ranked 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.
Lopez is the first winner from Mexico since Lorena Ochoa, a driving force for the game in that Latin American country.
“I mean, she’s been my inspiration my entire life,” Lopez said of Ochoa.
Ochoa was the LPGA’s top-ranked golfer for several years until she retired in 2010. She won 27 LPGA Tour events.
Lopez said she was also thinking of her grandfather, Jose Lopez, who died recently.
“I always told him that I was going to give him my first trophy,” Lopez said. “Sadly I didn’t, but he was with me all week long and I couldn’t be more lucky, more fortunate to have him still alive in me.”
Matt Kuchar shot 6-under 65 Saturday and set the 54-hole record at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at 20-under.