Kooch Leads Putnam by 2 Shots at Waialae

Disciplined Anirban Lahiri lying at 3-under, Matt Kuchar holds lead

Kuchar ended a three-year drought by winning the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico last fall.

Both courses require keeping the ball in play, and Kuchar has done that well over three rounds.

"Listen, the game of golf is not easy", Kuchar said after a 4-under 66 to take a two-shot lead over Andrew Putnam into the final round.

Keith Mitchell had a 63 and was four behind, along with Chez Reavie (66).

Kuchar is one shot clear of Putnam, who fired a five-under 65 and four strokes ahead of Stewart Cink and Chez Reavie, who shot 62 and 65 respectively in the Tour's first full-field event of 2019.

Kuchar missed a good chance from 10 feet at the 10th before atoning from half that range for his fourth birdie at the 12th, and his distance control on the greens was in fine order as he safely two-putted for pars from long distance at three of the next four holes.

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"I loved the fight", Spieth said.

"I was trying to think back to any round I even had more than one hole-out and I couldn't think of any", Reavie said after signing for a 5-under 65 that leaves him 10 under for the week and four off the pace. Those were the only players within five shots of the lead, and all of them are chasing Kuchar.

The 25-year-old won the Memorial Tournament, the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship in 2018, and moved up 30 places after mixing just one bogey with eight birdies, including three in a row on the way back to the clubhouse.

"I anticipate needing another good round tomorrow", he said. He has made only one bogey through 54 holes, and he only came seriously close to one on Saturday, saving par from the bunker on the par-3 17th.

AUSTRALIAN golfer Marc Leishman has stormed up the leaderboard to be in a tie for fifth after a second-round 64 at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii, but former world No.1s Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth have missed the cut. He has been to five of the islands, and plans to stay another few weeks after the Sony Open.

Putnam stayed within striking distance without playing his best.

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