Garcia has 2-shot lead in S. Africa

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Scoreboard -

For three days, Matt Kuchar has felt in to­tal con­trol of his game at the Mayakoba Golf Clas­sic.

For the sec­ond straight day, Kuchar had enough birdies to atone for one rough hole, and it car­ried him to a 6-un­der 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

Ser­gio Garcia leads by two strokes go­ing into the fi­nal round of the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge in South Africa 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 on Satur­day.

No­table

LPGA: 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 China.

Lopez had bo­geys on the last two holes at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club and al­most let the ti­tle slip away. She fin­ished at 8-un­der 280. 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.

“You know the deal, though. You have to go play good golf,” Kuchar said. “I can’t go out there and think a whole bunch of pars are go­ing to get me in the win­ner’s cir­cle. I’ve still got to make a good num­ber of birdies, and with that, some­what have the pedal down.”

Richy Weren­ski and Danny Lee each shot 67 and were five shots back, fol­lowed by a group that in­cluded PGA Tour rookie of the year Aaron Wise (63) and Cameron Champ (69). Champ, who played in the fi­nal group with Kuchar and Lee, al­ready won this sea­son at the San­der­son Farms Cham­pi­onship.

Kuchar has been pil­ing up birdies at El Ca­ma­leon Golf Club, and he be­gan to pull away with four birdies on the front nine. Just like Fri­day, how­ever, one hole gave him stress. It was the 12th hole in the sec­ond round, when he had to make a 35-foot bo­gey putt. On Satur­day, it was a tee shot on the 14th. Kuchar took a penalty from the haz­ard, and dropped in a good lie a few inches next to the cart path.

In­stead of tak­ing re­lief into deeper rough, he hit with his feet on the path and picked it clean so his fair­way me­tal wouldn’t smack into the ce­ment. It came up just short of the green, and he chipped to 5 feet and made the bo­gey putt.

Kuchar re­sponded with a tee shot to 4 feet on the par-3 15th to re­store his mar­gin to four shots, and he caught a break on the last hole when he pulled his ap­proach, but it struck a tree and came down in light rough to set up a sim­ple up-and-down.

Champ was try­ing to get into the fi­nal group for Sun­day with a par on the last hole, but his wedge came out hot from the rough and rolled through the green, his chip came out heavy and he three­p­utted for dou­ble bo­gey.

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