Kuchar trying to turn hot starts into victories


LA QUINTA, Calif. – Matt Kuchar has the opening part down. It’s whether he can close that will mean the difference between his eighth PGA Tour title and yet another top-10 finish.

Last week at the Sony Open, Kuchar started 65-63 to share the 36-hole lead. A third-round 68 dropped him two shots behind, and on Sunday, during a closing 71, he ended a streak of 255 consecutive rounds with at least one birdie.

He’s in even better shape this week at the Humana Challenge, where opening rounds of 65-64 gave him a one-shot lead at the halfway mark.

This is the 25th time that Kuchar has been inside the top three heading into the weekend. Only twice has he converted that into a victory.

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“I’ve been feeling good,” he said afterward. “I feel like I know where (the ball) is going; I feel like I’m hitting it in the center of the clubface. I’m really pleased.”

Kuchar attributes his hot start to 2015 to the work that he’s done with swing coach Chris O’Connell during the Shark Shootout in December. They’re trying to accomplish two things: 1) make Kuchar’s swing as round and circular as possible; and 2) release the club without any shaft rotation.

“It’s started going really well,” he said.