By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 13/01/19 4:07am
Matt Kuchar continued his serene progress at the Sony Open in Hawaii as he claimed a two-shot lead after the third round..
Kuchar completed 54 holes with just one bogey on his card, and a four-birdie 66 got him to 18 under while Andrew Putnam holed from eight feet at the last for birdie to stay within striking distance of the leader.
Keith Mitchell (63) and Chez Reavie (66) are four strokes off the pace going into the final round, which appears likely to be a shootout between the top two at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
Kuchar held the halfway lead after a pair of 63s, and he made another positive start to the third round as he rolled in a confident 13-foot putt for an opening birdie before settling for a series of pars.
A sublime tee shot to three feet at the short seventh set up his second gain of the day, which was quickly followed by his third when he came within a whisker of holing from off the green for eagle at the par-five ninth.
Kuchar missed a good chance from 10 feet at the 10th before atoning from half that range for his fourth birdie at the 12th, and his distance control on the greens was in fine order as he safely two-putted for pars from long distance at three of the next four holes.
The 40-year-old maintained his bogey-free round with a classy up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the 17th, and he was forced to lay up at the last following a blocked drive into a fairway bunker and was unable to convert another birdie chance from 15 feet.
Putnam remained Kuchar’s closest challenger after a 67 which included three birdies over the first five holes, although bogeys at the eighth and 16th ultimately cost him his chance to share the lead overnight.
Mitchell raced up the leaderboard with five birdies in six holes around the turn before he added another at 18 to close on 14 under before Reavie, who had stormed to the turn in 30, recovered from three consecutive bogeys with birdies at 16 and 18 to join Mitchell in third place.
Bryson DeChambeau raced out of the blocks with three straight birdies to open and, after a blemish at the fifth, he picked up five more shots including one at the last to hand in a 63 which briefly got him into the clubhouse lead on 11 under.
The Ryder Cup star was joined in the tie for fifth by 54-year-old veteran Davis Love III, who birdied three of the last four holes to return a classy 64 which matched the score of in-form playing-partner Charles Howell III.
World No 3 Justin Thomas, the 2017 winner, carded a 67 to move to eight under along with defending champion Patton Kizzire and Masters holder Patrick Reed, who managed only three birdies in a quiet 68.
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January 13, 2019, 11:00pm