Kuchar two ahead in Hawaii in bid for ninth PGA Tour win

Kuchar's 66 put him two clear of Andrew Putnam

Lahiri's only birdie of the day came on ninth when he landed his third shot to seven feet and holed it for a birdie.

The lead stayed with Matt Kuchar, who kept another clean card and shot a four-under 66 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Sony Open, as he goes for his second victory this season on the PGA Tour.

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. Kuchar wobbled to a 1-over 36 on the front nine and let a whole host of players back into the festivities before making three straight 3s on the back nine and two birdies in his first three holes. They remained tied with five holes to play when Putnam made bogey from a deep bunker left of the 14th green, and Kuchar made a pair of 12-foot birdie putts on the next two holes to seize control.

South African native Rory Sabbatini played his first event under the Slovakian flag, and shot a second round 67 to move to five-under overall, nine shots adrift of Kuchar.

Super-consistent Marc Leishman is on track for another big US PGA Tour payday but the Sony Open title appears nearly out of reach going into the final round. "I was on the outside of a couple of things, and felt like I hadn't been used to being in that situation". 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.

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The only other time Kuchar won twice in the same season was in 2013, when he won the Match Play Championship in Arizona in February and the Memorial in early June.

Putnam, who won for the first time a year ago in the Barracuda Championship held opposite a World Golf Championship, did his best to stay in reach.

"I'm feeling a little let down right now", Putnam said after closing with a 68. Along with his runner-up finish in the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall, he has almost as many FedEx Cup points as past year when he finished at No. 130. "I just couldn't keep up with him".

"Certainly past year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is insane to comprehend", Kuchar said. Four players finished in a tie for third at 17-under including Australian Marc Leishman and Canadian Corey Conners.

Love, who first played the Sony Open in 1986, missed by one shot matching the lowest 72-hole score of his career. "He was battling me, took the lead and it was nice to have that pressure and come through, make some birdies coming in".

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