Kuchar extends lead at Sony Open

Kuchar has dropped only one shot in 54 holes

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.

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.

Kuchar overcame his sloppy start with flawless golf the rest of the way - he putted for birdie on the last 13 holes - and pulled away with a critical three-hole stretch at Waialae for a 4-under 66 to become the first multiple victor on the PGA Tour this season.

Kuchar ended a four-year drought by winning the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico last fall, and there are a few similarities.

He finished at 22-under 258, the third-lowest total in Waialae history behind the PGA Tour record of 253 by Justin Thomas in 2017 and Jimmy Walker's 72-hole score of 257 when he won in 2015.

Chez Reavie, after consecutive 65s, and Stewart Cink (62, with nine birdies) are joint third at 10-under 130, four shots adrift.

The victor of the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico in November, world No.32 Kuchar briefly surrendered the lead to Putnam after three bogeys in his first five holes on Sunday.

Five-time PGA Tour victor Hideki Matsuyama is 10 shots off the lead, tied for 35th, after also shooting a 3-under 67. "The other two, I just hit the shot I was trying to see and it was going at the hole".




The win for Kuchar came amid Saturday-night allegations from current PGA Tour Champions player Tom Gillis, who tweeted that Kuchar paid a local fill-in caddie just $3,000 for his Mayakoba win.

Putnam, who won the Barracuda Championship last summer and was runner-up to Dustin Johnson at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, moves into the top 50 in the world for the first time in his career at No. 45.

"It was not at all what I was looking for", Kuchar said, adding that he just told himself to stay confident. "They may always be there, but you get more comfortable with it".

"Kuch is playing well, so I feel like I've got to get out there and make some birdies if it's not too windy", Putnam said. He carded one under overall after rounds of 73 and a much-improved 66 in his first event of 2019.

Canada's Corey Connors made it a four-way tie for third as he also signed off with a 64, while 54-year-old veteran Davis Love III hit back from an early mistake with six birdies in a commendable 65 that saw him finish in outright seventh.

Putnam, playing in the afternoon, had a bogey-free 65 and was one shot behind.

Andrew Putnam took the lead over Kuchar as the two began their third round as the one-time PGA Tour victor impressed.

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