Honolulu – US veteran Matt Kuchar shook off a slow start and pulled away for a four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam on Sunday in the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii.
Kuchar birdied six of his last 10 holes in a four-under par 66 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, finishing the week with a 22-under par total of 258.
The 40-year-old four-time Ryder Cup team member – who won a bronze medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics – won for the second time in the 2018-19 season after his victory in the Mayakoba Classic in November.
“Boy, to win two out of three events – it’s crazy to comprehend,” said Kuchar, who missed the Tour Championship last year for the first time in eight years but has now taken his tally of PGA Tour titles to nine.
He led by two going into the final round, three bogeys in his first five holes saw the usually steady Kuchar, who had just one bogey in the first three rounds, surrender the lead to Putnam.
“It was not at all what I was looking for,” Kuchar said, adding that he just told himself to stay confident. “Some of those bogeys – there was a three-putt and a bad wedge shot. That’s just so uncharacteristic.”
Sure enough he snapped out of it.
A birdie at the ninth saw him make the turn level with Putnam – who had two birdies in his first nine holes.
Kuchar added birdies at 10, 12, 15, 16 and the par-five 18th to seal the win as Putnam, who was tied for the lead after a birdie at 13, bogeyed 14 from a bunker on the way to a two-under 68 for solo second on 262.
“Andrew was tough,” Kuchar said.
“He was battling me, took the lead and it was nice to have that pressure and come through, make some birdies coming in.
“Getting that birdie on 15, getting that birdie on 16 – man that made 18 awfully nice to play,” added the American, who is now well on his way to making a fifth US Presidents Cup team.
Australian Marc Leishman had six birdies in a six-under 64 to share third place on 17-under 263 with Canadian Corey Conners and Americans Hudson Swafford and Chez Reavie.
Swafford also signed for a bogey-free 64, while Conners had seven birdies and a bogey in his six-under effort and Reavie closed with a three-under 67.
It was a further stroke back to Davis Love, who finished solo seventh with a 65 for 264.
Leading final-round scores on Sunday from the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii (USA unless noted, par 70):
258 – Matt Kuchar 63-63-66-66
262 – Andrew Putnam 62-65-67-68
263 – Marc Leishman (AUS) 67-64-68-64, Hudson Swafford 65-67-67-64, Chez Reavie 65-65-66-67, Corey Conners (CAN) 68-67-64-64
264 – Davis Love 67-68-64-65
265 – Brian Stuard 66-69-64-66, Charles Howell 69-66-64-66
266 – Sebastin Muoz (COL) 68-65-68-65, Kang Sung (KOR) 70-67-65-64, Bryson DeChambeau 69-67-63-67
267 – Patrick Reed 68-66-68-6, Patton Kizzire 67-68-67-65, Ted Potter 66-65-68-68
268 – Justin Thomas 67-68-67-66, Brandt Snedeker 66-69-65-68, Im Sung-jae (KOR) 71-64-65-68, Keith Mitchell 68-65-63-72
269 – J.T. Poston 68-66-69-66, Stewart Cink 68-62-70-69
270 – Cameron Smith (AUS) 66-68-69-67, Joel Dahmen 67-70-66-67, Ryan Armour 72-64-68-66, Brian Gay 67-69-68-66, Harris English 68-68-67-67, Kyle Stanley 73-64-68-65, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 70-68-63-69