AUGUSTA, Ga. – As a 20-year-old amateur, Matt Kuchar caught the collective eye when he tied for 21st and he’s been climbing his way to a green jacket ever since.
On Saturday, he moved one step closer to that goal with a third-round 68 to finish at 4-under par and within one shot of the lead, but that’s no surprise for those who study such trends.
Since 2002, the year he played his first Masters as a professional, Kuchar’s record at Augusta National is a missed cut, T-24, T-27, T-3 and T-8, respectively.
“There’s a comfort level now and certainly a lot more maturity as far as course management goes,” said Kuchar, who had just two bogeys on Day 3 including a 7-iron that sailed long at the last hole.
Saturday’s surge also dovetails with Kuchar’s career trajectory. Since 2010, he has won a FedEx Cup playoff event (Barclays Classic), a faux fifth major (The Players) and a World Golf Championship (Match Play). The logical next step is a major championship.
“His whole career has been a natural progression, from his first win on the Web.com Tour to The Players,” Kuchar’s caddie Lance Bennett said. “He has just continued to improve.”