Kuchar extends lead at Sony Open

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"Some of those bogeys - there was a three-putt and a bad wedge shot".

He found a bunker on the par-five 18th hole and looked as if he might finish with yet another bogey. Kuchar blasted out weakly, and holed the 10-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth to stay in range.

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.

The 40-year-old is aiming for his second win in three starts on the Tour after claiming the Mayakoba Golf Classic earlier this season.

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Kuchar had a 54-hole score of 193 in Mexico, the lowest of his career.

But Kuchar edged back in front when he pitched to three feet to set up a birdie at 10 before holing from 10 feet at the 12th, although Putnam then regained a share of the lead with a clutch 20-foot putt for birdie at the 13th.

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. Those were the only players within five shots of the lead, and all of them are chasing Kuchar. Putnam briefly held the lead in the final round and finished solo second at 18 under.

"I anticipate needing another good score tomorrow", Kuchar said. Kuch was making birdies and played great coming down the stretch. 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. He joins Xander Schauffle in the two-win club for this season and now has almost eight months to notch the first three-win season of his long, consistent and successful career.

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Putnam, who won for the first time previous year in the Barracuda Championship held opposite a World Golf Championship, did his best to stay in reach. "I feel like I was trying to win the tournament trying to make the cut, which is not something I want to get used to". "They may always be there, but you get more comfortable with it". "I just couldn't keep up with him".

Marc Leishman (64), Hudson Swafford (64) and Chez Reavie (67) also finished in a tie for third.

He posted a 14-under 126 halfway total, one stroke better than fellow American Andrew Putnam, who shot a bogey-free 65. He carded one under overall after rounds of 73 and a much-improved 66 in his first event of 2019. But, his standing atop the leaderboard was threatened by one-time victor Andrew Putnam.

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