HONOLULU – Matt Kuchar overcame a slow start Sunday to rally for his second victory of the Fall-Winter PGA Tour season at the Sony Open. Kuchar, 40, held a two-shot lead entering the final round at Waialae Country Club, but saw that evaporate with three birdies over his first five holes against a lone birdie. Andrew Putnam grabbed a share of the lead when Kuchar bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5.
Kuchar started to get his round going with a birdie on No. 9. He then reeled off two more over the first three holes after making the turn to regain the lead. This time, he wouldn’t let go, with three birdies over his final four holes to emphatically seal a four-shot victory.
Kuchar’s final-round 66 put him at 22-under 258 for the tournament, with Putnam finishing at 18 under with a 2-under 68 on Sunday.
“It was not at all what I was looking for,” Kuchar told the Golf Channel about his poor start. “I know that I was playing well, so I tried to stay confident. If I keep plugging along, I knew good things would happen.
“Andrew was tough. He was battling me, took the lead … it was nice to have that pressure, to have come through and to make some birdies coming in. For me, I’ve never had a cushion like this coming down the last (hole).”
Kuchar, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, took home the $1.152 million winner’s check with his ninth career PGA Tour victory and is the second multiple-time winner on Tour this season. He also earned 500 FedEx Cup points to take over the No. 2 spot behind Xander Schauffele, who earned his second victory of the season last week.
“I think it might have been Jay-Z that said 40 is the new 20?” Kuchar joked. “I hope that’s the case. I’m awfully pleased with my game. Obviously last year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is crazy to comprehend.
“It’s such a special thing for me.”
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. Davis Love III, one of four 50-plus-year-old in the field, earned a solo seventh-place finish another shot back.
Defending champion Patton Kizzire tied for 13th at 13 under, while 2017 event champion Justin Thomas earned a share of 16th place another shot off the pace. Thomas posted a 66 on Sunday and has now shot 68 or lower in 12 consecutive rounds at Waialae.
The Tour begins its California Swing with the Desert Classic in La Quinta this week.
–Field Level Media