By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 12/01/19 3:56am
Matt Kuchar put himself in position to win his second PGA Tour title of the season after firing another 63 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Kuchar was seven under on day one at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, and he matched that score in the second round to earn a one-shot lead over Andrew Putnam at the halfway stage.
But while Kuchar prospered in ideal conditions, Jordan Spieth was among the big names to miss the cut along with Ryder Cup team-mate Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.
Kuchar enjoyed a flying start to his second round as he holed birdie putts from 10 feet at the 10th and 11th before nailing another from close to 30 feet at the 12th, and he moved to four under with a further good putt at 14.
The American veteran dropped his first shot of the tournament after pushing his drive at the next and tugging his second left of the green, but he responded with a superb second to 15 feet at the 18th which he converted for eagle.
Kuchar, who lifted his first silverware for four-and-a-half years in Mexico in November, looked in cruise control over the front nine and picked up further shots at the third and ninth to close on 14 under par.
“To shoot seven under back-to-back is unexpected, but certainly awfully exciting,” said Kuchar. “I love the golf course. It’s a challenging one, but if you play well you can make birdies; if you don’t you’re going to make bogeys.
“I’ve been on some good form and I felt really good yesterday, although today probably wasn’t quite as clean. I think I hardly missed a fairway yesterday and today missed a handful. Boy, the golf course gets tough when you’re playing from the rough. Even if you have short clubs in your hand it’s challenging.
“But I took advantage early and started out with three straight birdies, 10, 11, 12, and kind of continued the good play from yesterday.”
Putnam birdied two of his last three holes to card a bogey-free 65 which reduced Kuchar’s advantage to a single stroke heading into the weekend, while 2009 Open champion Stewart Cink fired a superb 62 to lie four shots off the pace along with Chez Reavie.
But three birdies over the final four holes were not enough to extend Spieth’s tournament as he narrowly failed to repair the damage of his first-round 73.
Spieth gave himself a good chance to make the weekend when he rolled in his fourth birdie putt of the day at the 10th, but bogeys at 12 and 14 proved his undoing and he was two inches off target with his eagle chip at the last which he needed to hole to make the cut on two under.
Casey’s four-birdie 68 was not enough to get him in for the final 36 holes as he finished on level par, while Watson slipped to two over after running up a triple-bogey six at the short 17th, where he chunked a chip into a bunker and needed two attempts to get out.
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January 13, 2019, 12:00am