HUMBLE, Texas – Matt Kuchar is playing both Texas stops before heading to Augusta, one of 15 players to follow that schedule. That time in the Lone Star State allowed him to work closely with his Dallas-based swing coach, Chris O’Connell, and the extra attention seems to have paid big dividends.
Kuchar was tied for the lead during the final round of the Valero Texas Open before slipping into a tie for fourth. On Thursday, he hit all 18 greens en route to a first-round 66 and a share of the first-round lead at the Shell Houston Open.
“My form is good,” he said. “I’m certainly excited for the next couple days, and then knowing the Masters is next week as well, I feel happy with the way my game is progressing.”
In the past, Kuchar has tried to swing through Texas during stops at the Byron Nelson and Colonial before heading to Memorial, and by the end of the trip he emerges playing some of his best golf of the year.
This time it required switching up his pre-Masters formula, despite top 10s at Augusta in his past two starts.
“We figured we were on to some pretty good things,” he said, “and things started clicking really well. We decided to give it a try this year.”
Kuchar said it didn’t take him long to get over his final-round disappointment in San Antonio. Of shooting 75 on the Oaks Course, in those windy conditions, he said, “I’m not ashamed. I was just a fraction off that day. It was enough to shoot 3 over.
“The great thing out here is you start all over the next week regardless of whether you win or miss the cut,” he continued. “You get a fresh start and have to show up to play. I think you need a bit of a short memory out here because every week you just start over fresh.”