NAPA, Calif. – When thinking of players who might drive the green on a par-4 on the PGA Tour, Matt Kuchar’s name doesn’t immediately come to mind.
Kuchar was 136th on Tour last season in driving distance, averaging just under 284 yards per poke. Some offseason work yielded immediate results during the third round of the Frys.com Open, though, as Kuchar took driver on No. 17, where the tees were moved up and the hole measured just under 300 yards.
His shot found the green and settled within 6 feet of the hole, setting up an eagle that vaulted him into contention. After a 6-under 66, he’ll begin the final round in a tie for third, five shots behind leader Sang-Moon Bae.
“That’s a long way for me to hit the ball,” he said. “I worked a bit with Chris O’Connell on a shot to be able to hit it really high off the tee, to carry it a little farther, and it required a carry of kind of 280 yards-ish. That’s really long for me, but I was able to put the thing up in the air and get it to land just over that bunker.”
After an unsuccessful Ryder Cup, Kuchar spent much of his offseason – or, off week – playing tennis, but insists that being in the mix for another victory helps to assuage any lingering fatigue from his recent trip to Scotland.
“Tomorrow will be exciting,” he said. “Certainly I’ll be full-on into it come tomorrow afternoon.”