Matt Kuchar didn't have the start he wanted Sunday in the Sony Open, not with three bogeys in five holes after making just one through three rounds. "I want to do my best to aim for a top-10 finish". The other two were sloppy - a three-putt across the back of the fourth green, and a wedge into No. 5 that he was begging to get down as soon as it left his club.
Kuchar ran off four birdies in five holes to start his second round Friday, handled the par 5s at Waialae again and finished with another round of 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead over Andrew Putnam.
"It was too cool to have a rainbow appear on the 18th hole", Kuchar said.
It was a further stroke back to Davis Love, who finished solo seventh with a 65 for 264.
PGA golfer Matt Kuchar tees off on the 17th hole during the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii golf tournament at Waialae Country Club.
He won the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico two months ago, another finish that was tighter than it needed to be.
He closed with a 68 and moved into the top 50 for the first time in his career.
The world number 32 said the quality of his play had been a little better on Thursday, even if his scores had been the same.
"It's such a special thing for me". That sometimes is hard to take, when you think you're on the right course and the right path and not seeing results.More news: Andy Murray to retire as 4th-highest earner in tennis history
Kuchar is 2-2 when he has the 54-hole lead going into the final round.
His only birdie of the day came on the ninth hole, where he landed his third shot to seven feet and holed it for a birdie. He caught Putnam on the next hole with an aggressive pitch-and-run up the slope.
Five-time PGA Tour victor Hideki Matsuyama is 10 shots off the lead, tied for 35th, after also shooting a 3-under 67.
Kuchar maintained his lead through the back nine as Putnam began to trail by more with a bogey on the par-4 16th.
Before he made the turn, Thomas rolled in a 12-foot putt for an eagle on the 9th hole.
"Didn't feel as easy as the first two days, " Putnam said. I anticipate shooting another good score tomorrow. 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.
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 for the first time past year in the Barracuda Championship held opposite a World Golf Championship, did his best to stay in reach.