Matt Kuchar starts Hawaii vacation with a victory

Marcus Newton
January 14, 2019

It took a while for Matt Kuchar to disentangle himself from a suddenly-crowded Sony Open leaderboard on Sunday, but when he finally put the hammer down, he did so emphatically and cruised to his second victory of the still-very-young 2018-19 PGA Tour season.

The 25-year-old, whose best finish last season was a tie for 39th, was trailing clubhouse-leader Andrew Putnam but leapfrogged him after four consecutive birdies on the back nine and one final one on the par-five 18th hole.

US veteran Matt Kuchar shook off a slow start and pulled away for a four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam Sunday in the US PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii.

However, Putnam handed back the initiative with a scrappy dropped shot at 14, and Kuchar seized his chance to open up a commanding lead when he holed back-to-back birdie putts from 12 feet at 15 and 16.

He closed with a 68 and moved into the top 50 for the first time in his career. I'm awfully pleased with my game.

"I loved the fight", Spieth said.

Kuchar matched the lowest 36-hole score of his PGA Tour career. If I keep plugging along, I knew good things would happen.

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Armed with a three-stroke advantage with just two holes remaining, Kuchar held firm and, after a cast-iron par at the penultimate hole, he completed a comprehensive win with his 24th birdie of the tournament at the 72nd hole.

It was only the second time Kuchar has won twice in the same season. But he had a good session with his swing coach in Dallas, and it paid off two weeks later on the Gulf side of the Mexican coast. "I have to stay aggressive". 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.

Kuchar birdied his first three holes on his way to a second straight seven-under-par 63 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

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.

Spieth had a 66 and missed the cut by just one shot.

He has made only one bogey through 54 holes at Waialae Country Club, and his 18-under 192 was the lowest 54-hole score of his career.

American star Spieth, meanwhile, struggled after opening the tournament with a three-over-par 73. Kuchar came out weakly, but made the 10-foot birdie putt.

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