Kuchar extends lead at Sony Open

Sherman Parsons
January 14, 2019

Putnam took a one-shot lead after Kuchar dropped three bogeys in his first five holes but could not keep pace on the back nine where he stalled at even par while Kuchar was on fire.

Kuchar shot a 4-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under 258 overall and beat playing partner Andrew Putnam by four strokes after leading by two going into the final round.

Kuchar was flawless on day three, posting four birdies without dropping a shot, to be the 54-hole leader at 18 under. They were tied through seven holes until Putnam made bogey on No. 8 and failed to birdie the par-5 ninth, the easiest hole at Waialae.

Putnam, who played college golf at Pepperdine and claimed his first PGA Tour victory a year ago in the Barracuda Championship, capped his 67 with an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole.

"I just felt like I was seeing the line and speed really well", Putnam explained.

Kuchar matched the lowest 36-hole score of his PGA Tour career. "I was on the outside of a couple of things, and felt like I hadn't been used to being in that situation". He finished top five in both events, and following his win last fall at the CIMB Classic should be considered one of the players best positioned to break into the upper crust of golf as we head toward the heart of the season. Along with his runner-up finish in the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall, he has almost as many FedEx Cup points as previous year when he finished at No. 130.

Australia's Marc Leishman finished in a four-way tie for third place at 17 under with Canada's Corey Conners and Americans Hudson Swafford and Chez Reavie.

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He at least made the cut, more than could be said for Jordan Spieth, who missed by a stroke despite a 66 for one-under.

Kuchar had gone more than four years since his last PGA Tour victory before he won in Mexico.

"It was not at all what I was looking for", Kuchar said, adding that he just told himself to stay confident.

Matt Kuchar hits from the first tee during the final round of the Sony Open PGA Tour golf event, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Matt Kuchar hits from the 10th fairway during the second round of the Sony Open on Friday. Kuchar walked in a birdie putt on the par-4 15th, and with Putnam in trouble on the par-4 16th, Kuchar put his approach to 11 feet.

American star Spieth, meanwhile, struggled after opening the tournament with a three-over-par 73.

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