Matt Kuchar remains in control and is the 54-hole leader (18 under) at the Sony Open in Hawaii after a handful of birdies helped him retake and maintain the lead. Needing to birdie the last four holes to qualify for the weekend, he ran off two birdies, missed a 3m birdie putt and then narrowly missed chipping in for eagle. "To shoot 7 under back-to-back is unexpected, but awfully excited", said Kuchar. If I keep plugging along, I knew good things would happen. "If you play well, you can make birdies", Kuchar said.
Kuchar ended a four-year drought by winning the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico last fall, and there are a few similarities.
But he rallied strongly to produce six birdies in the remaining holes, including five on an unblemished back nine, to secure the $US1,152,000 winner's cheque.
At the 477-yard par-4 13th, Lahiri's tee shot went 269 yards to the right rough, his second shot went 180 yards to the right front greenside bunker, and his sand shot went 29 yards to the green where he had a two-putt for a bogey. He won the Match Play Championship and the Memorial in 2013.
Matt Kuchar hits from the 10th fairway during the second round of the Sony Open on Friday.
From there, however, Kuchar had a birdie chance on the final 13 holes he made.More news: Arsenal transfer budget: Club's transfer budget for summer disclosed
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Kuchar was at 14-under 126, matching the lowest 36-hole score of his PGA Tour career.
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.
Kuchar was sliding his way out of the top 50 toward the end of past year, when he failed to make a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team for the first time since 2009. "That was fun. I felt like I was trying to win a golf tournament just to make the cut, which is not really something I want to get used to, but early in the season when I started the day 17 shots back, it was something where I could actually feel some pressure and make adjustments, too".
Marc Leishman (64), Hudson Swafford (64) and Chez Reavie (67) also finished in a tie for third. He carded one under overall after rounds of 73 and a much-improved 66 in his first event of 2019. "They may always be there, but you get more comfortable with it".
"For not playing well at all and being on the bad end of the draw, to miss the cut by one is reassuring", Spieth said. "I look forward to the rest of the year to try and continue to see how great this year can be". But, his standing atop the leaderboard was threatened by one-time victor Andrew Putnam.