Matt Kuchar inches closer to his second victory of the season with third-round 66


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Matt Kuchar is well known for the backdoor top 10, meaning he often shoots a low round on Sunday to crack the top 10 of the leader board after starting the day well outside it. As his bank account proves ($45 million in total earnings), it’s a nice way to make a living, but it’s a tough way to rack up wins.

For the second time this season, Kuchar will have a chance to alter that narrative on Sunday in Hawaii. Following a third-round 66, he’s alone at the top of the leader board at 18-under 192, two shots ahead of Andrew Putnam. Kuchar was the frontrunner this past November through 54 holes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, which he eventually won with a final-round 69 for his eighth career win. He hopes career victory No. 9 ends in similar fashion.

“It’s nice to be fresh off a Sunday playing with a lead,” Kuchar said of his Mayakoba win. “That’s a handy thing, there aren’t many opportunities you get to play Sunday with a lead. To have that just a handful of weeks ago, it was nice to have been there and nice to have finished it off.”

Kuchar, 40, has made just one bogey in 54 holes, and none in his last 30 holes. On Saturday he got off to a fast start, carding a front-nine 32, which allowed him to cruise home and make eight pars and a birdie on the home nine.

“It’s the golf I like to play, stay out of trouble, give yourself enough opportunities and enough will go in. It was a nice day.”

We’ll see if the boring but effective style of play is enough for Kuchar to hold off Putnam, who has fired rounds of 62, 65 and 67 to put himself firmly in contention. Aside from his victory last season at the Barracuda Championship, the 29-year-old has only been in the mix on Sunday a handful of times, most notably at last season’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he carded a final-round 72 to finish in second behind Dustin Johnson. This past October he was close to the lead once again through 54 holes at the WGC-HSBC Champions, but again shot a Sunday 72.

Four back at 14-under are Chez Reavie and Keith Mitchell, who tied for the low round of the day by shooting a seven-under 63. Mitchell, 27, is in search of his first tour victory, while Reavie, 37, is looking for his second. He last won over a decade ago at the 2008 RBC Canadian Open.

Nine players are tied for fifth at 11-under 199, including Bryson DeChambeau, Davis Love III, Marc Leishman and Charles Howell III.

Up-to-the-minute leader board and other scoring information for the Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae C.C., Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 10-13, 2019


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