Kuchar still leads at Colonial after marathon day
FORT WORTH, Texas — Matt Kuchar finished a long Saturday at Colonial exhausted and still a stroke in front.
“This morning feels like a day ago,” Kuchar said. “It’s hard to believe it’s the same day.”
After making a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th hole, the same place where his day began at 7:13 a.m. to finish the suspended second round, Kuchar had two nifty par-savers to finish a 1-under 69 in the third round. He was at 11-under 199, one ahead of Graham DeLaet, Boo Weekley, Chris Stroud and Matt Every.
When the second round was suspended Friday night because of an approaching storm, Kuchar had just hit his tee shot at the par-3 16th. He resumed there early Saturday with a two-putt from about 40 feet. That was part of three quick pars to keep his one-stroke lead after two rounds, then he played in the final group that finished just after 5 p.m.
Kuchar made his go-ahead stroke in the third round at No. 16 — after falling behind by as many as two strokes — before his approach shot at the 379-yard 17th landed in a greenside bunker. He blasted to 13 feet and saved par before hooking his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough. He found more tall grass near the green with his second shot before pitching inside 3 feet.
“To not give away a stroke and maintain a one-shot lead is a good position to be in. Everybody has got to come get me,” Kuchar said. “Not only a bunch of players, but a bunch of good players up there. … I’m looking forward to having the lead and seeing if I can maintain it, and my goal will be to grow the lead.”
Weekly, even with problems maintaining focus in his left eye, and Every shot third-round 66s. Stroud had a 67 and DeLaet, playing with Kuchar, had three back-nine bogeys before a birdie at No. 18 for a 69.
Ranked No. 13 in the world — the highest in the field — Kuchar started the third round with a birdie at the easy par-5 first hole. At the 458-yard third hole, his 8-foot birdie attempt rolled over the cup without falling, ending his streak of 34 consecutive made putts under 10 feet this week at Hogan’s Alley.
Kuchar missed another short one, a 5-foot par putt after blasting out of a greenside bunker at the seventh hole. He then missed the green on at the par-3 eighth and bogeyed again, putting him 9 under and two strokes behind DeLaet, the 31-year-old Canadian looking for his first PGA Tour victory.
“I felt like they were easy up-and-downs,” Kuchar said. “I was glad to bounce back.”
DeLaet was at 12 under after he and Kuchar both had birdies at the par-5 11th hole before his bogeys at Nos. 13, 14 and 17.
Kuchar won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February, and will try Sunday to join Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners on the PGA Tour this season. Kuchar is a five-time winner, but never has won twice in the same season.
There could be a lot of competition in the final round at Colonial, where 12 players are within three strokes of the lead. That dozen includes defending champion Zach Johnson, who also won in 2010, at 202.
Johnson shot 68, his 18th time under par his last 19 rounds at Hogan’s Alley. The lone exception being his closing 72 last year that included a two-stroke penalty. Five-time winner Ben Hogan is the only player to win Colonial more than twice.
“Certainly the confidence of playing well here is something I’m going to try to lean on,” Johnson said.
Weekley, who has won twice but not since 2008, had gotten to 10 under during his second round Friday when he made consecutive birdies after making his turn. But he had a late four-hole stretch with a double bogey and two bogeys. He was back at 10 under Saturday with consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12, and was still there after an up-and-down finish.
“When we got done playing (Friday), I went out to the range and practiced a little bit and focused back on what we are here to do , and that’s win and play the best we can,” Weekley said.
There was a bogey at the 14th when he missed the fairway with his tee shot and the green with his approach, but he made a 6-foot birdie at No. 15. He missed a 5-foot par chance at No. 16, but finished with a birdie after his approach inside 3 feet at the closing hole.
After having problems reading greens in recent tournaments, Weekley this week went to doctor to have his left eye checked. But he still hasn’t found out what the problem is.
“I get like a real bad twitch when I’m trying to focus on something, especially staring down on the ball,” Weekley said. “It’s happened, I’d say probably 15-20 times so far this week.”
Even with that problem, he’s still got a chance to win.
SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
ST. LOUIS — Kenny Perry had an eagle, five birdies and four bogeys, mixing spectacular shots with stumbles and doing enough of the right things for a 3-under 68 and a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Senior PGA Championship.
The 52-year-old Perry is close to an elusive first major championship in a career known more agonizing almosts in the 2008 Masters and 1996 PGA than his 16 total tournament victories and $34 million in winnings. He was at 10 under overall at Bellerive Country Club, which held up fine after a rain delay of more than two hours before the last twosome of Perry and Russ Cochran teed off.
Two-time champion Jay Haas was second after closing with a pair of birdies for a 67. Cochran was three strokes back after rallying for two birdies on the back nine for an even-par 71.
Perry had a two-shot lead with two holes to go in the 2008 Masters, but lost in a playoff to Angel Cabrera. The Kentucky player had a late lead and lost it in the 1996 PGA, losing in a playoff to Mark Brooks.
BAHAMAS LPGA CLASSIC
PARADISE ISLANDS, Bahamas — Paola Moreno of Colombia played another bogey-free round on a 12-hole golf course to take the lead in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Playing in the final group, with the sun setting over the ocean along the eighth fairway, Moreno handled the wind and increasing darkness to make a simple par for a 4-under 41 and 9-under 81 total. That gave her a one-shot lead over Lindsey Wright, who had seven birdies for a 38. Cristie Kerr was among 10 players within three shots of the lead, though they won’t have as many holes to make up ground.
BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
VIRGINIA WATER, England — Spain’s Alejandro Canizares shot a 4-under 68 at Wentworth to take a one-stroke lead over England’s Lee Westwood after the third round of the BMW PGA Championship.
Canizares birdied the final two holes to reach 9 under. Westwood had a 67.
Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Scotland’s Marc Warren were 7 under. Manassero shot 69, and Warren had a 70.
Sergio Garcia, the Spanish player whose verbal sparring with Tiger Woods turned ugly this week when he said he would “serve fried chicken” if he had dinner with Woods, was four strokes back after a 68.
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