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14 January 2019, 06:56 | Anna Jefferson
Matt Kuchar takes one-shot lead over Andrew Putnam at Sony Open
In the third round of the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii, Matt Kuchar carded a clean 4-under 66 to get to 18-under for the tournament and grab a two-stroke lead over the field heading into Sunday.
"Certainly previous year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is insane to comprehend", Kuchar said. 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 was flawless on day three, posting four birdies without dropping a shot, to be the 54-hole leader at 18 under. It hopped into the back bunker, and he missed an 8-foot par putt to lose the lead. Putnam went first and it rolled out to 2 inches for birdie.
DIVOTS: Gary Woodland, who didn't shoot worse than 68 last week and still had to settle for runner-up at Kapalua, was among 10 players who missed the 54-hole cut because more than 78 players made it to the weekend.
Kuchar shot 22-under 258 for the week in Honolulu and overcame a rocky final-round start to lock up the four-shot win. Kuchar denied the number after the third round and said the two had an agreement in place at the start of the week.
After a drive to the right side of the fairway on the 351-yard par-4 10th hole, Smith had a 100 yard approach shot, setting himself up for the birdie.
"Last year I probably ground harder than I've done in the past", he said.
"I anticipate needing another good score tomorrow, " Kuchar said.
In-form Bryson DeCambeau posted a seven-under 63 to be sharing sixth place with Leishman and three others. Davis Love III shot 6-under 64 to join DeChambeau, as well as Charles Howell III (6 under) and Marc Leishman (2-under 68).
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. "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".
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