Kuchar overcomes slow start to win Sony Open

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar

Fellow American Kuchar fell back to second at 17-under with three bogeys and two birdies after nine holes.

It wasn't as easy as his four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam might indicate.

Kuchar was in trouble early with bogeys on three of his first five holes.

Kuchar maintained his lead through the back nine as Putnam began to trail by more with a bogey on the par-4 16th.

Putnam closed with a 68 and moved into the top 50 for the first time in his career. His best season to date probably came in 2013 when he won the Memorial and the WGC-Match Play Championship en route to $5.6 million in earnings.

It was a hard day for 11-time PGA Tour champion Spieth, who had four bogeys and just one birdie to be tied for 127th and 12 shots off the pace.

It was only the second time Kuchar has won twice in the same season.

The 40-year-old four-time Ryder Cup team member - who won a bronze medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics - won for the second time in the 2018-19 season after his victory in the Mayakoba Classic in November.

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"It's not often you feel like you know what you're doing with your swing and the ball's reacting the way you want it to and you're able to maneuver the ball the way you want", Kuchar told reporters. "I also love the way we fought back there at the end".

Even so, the performance was big for Conner, who narrowly missed a full PGA Tour card previous year.

He'll be very comfortable over the next few weeks, remaining in Hawaii with his family for a two-week vacation.

Lahiri, who is playing his first event of 2019, is now four-under 136. His 64-65 weekend gave him a tie for seventh, and he now heads off to Singapore with hopes of earning a spot in the British Open. "To win two out of three is insane to comprehend".

Super-consistent Marc Leishman is on track for another big US PGA Tour payday but the Sony Open title appears nearly out of reach going into the final round.

"Before the other two I just hit the shot and I was trying to see if it was going at the hole".

Putnam, who played college golf at Pepperdine and claimed his first PGA Tour victory past year in the Barracuda Championship, capped his 67 with an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole. He used eight birdies to complete the feat, including three on his final seven holes.

After shooting 63-63 in the first two rounds, Kuchar only needed a 4-under 66 in Round 3 to get into position for the closing kick, another 64. (68) and Marc Leishman (68) are also in the bunch at 11-under.

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