Kuchar stumbles down the stretch again in Houston


HUMBLE, Texas – For the second week in a row, Matt Kuchar squandered a back-nine lead and lost to a previously winless Australian.

Kuchar was leading the Shell Houston Open by one when he rinsed his 214-yard approach shot on the 18th hole. He did well to force a playoff with Matt Jones, getting up-and-down from 64 yards for bogey. “I didn’t want to bail out right, and I figured I’d try to hit a good shot. I just hit it a little too far left, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s smarter to bail out and give yourself a chance, but I was looking to try and make 4 and win the tournament.”

In the playoff, Kuchar failed to apply pressure when he sent his second shot into the right greenside bunker. Matt Jones holed an improbable pitch shot for birdie, while Kuchar’s blast from the bunker came up 10 feet short.

It was his second consecutive disappointment for Kuchar, not an ideal situation heading into the year’s first major.

Last week in San Antonio, Kuchar was tied with Steven Bowditch with nine holes to play, but he stumbled home with a 75. He tied for fourth.

“I’m hoping to keep improving,” he said. “I’m hoping to keep the train going.”