Sony Open 2019: Matt Kuchar Leads Andrew Putnam by 2 Strokes After Round 3

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 13, 2019

HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 12:  Matt Kuchar of the United States acknowledges the crowd as he walks on the 18th hole during the third round of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 12, 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Matt Kuchar leads the Sony Open by two strokes after Saturday play, as he shot a four-under 66 to move to 18-under for the tournament, which is being played at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Andrew Putnam shot a three-under 67 to move to second at 16-under, and Keith Mitchell tied for the day's low round with a seven-under 63 to take third at 14-under. Chez Reavie tied him with a four-under 66.

Here's a look at the top 10 and a quick recap, with a focus on the top four finishers through three rounds.

                   

Scoreboard

1. Matt Kuchar: 63-63-66 (-18)

2. Andrew Putnam: 62-65-67 (-16)

T3. Keith Mitchell: 68-65-63 (-14)

T3. Chez Reavie: 65-65-66 (-14)

T5. Bryson DeChambeau: 69-67-63 (-11)

T5. Corey Conners: 68-67-64 (-11)

T5. Davis Love III: 67-68-64 (-11)

T5. Charles Howell III: 69-66-64 (-11)

T5. Dominic Bozzelli: 71-64-64 (-11)

T5. Brian Stuard: 66-69-64 (-11)

T5. Hudson Swafford: 65-67-67 (-11)

T5. Ted Potter Jr.: 66-65-68 (-11)

T5. Marc Leishman: 67-64-68 (-11)

*Full leaderboard can be viewed on the PGA Tour's official website.

          

Recap

Through 54 holes, Kuchar has just one bogey.

Near-mistake free golf is the reason Kuchar is at the top of the leaderboard, and that trend continued on Saturday. Per PGATour.com, the 40-year-old hit 71.43 percent of his drives in the fairway or green and earned an eye-popping 88.89 percent greens-in-regulation rate.

Kuchar also played in the Sentry Tour of Champions the week before, and that may have had something to do with his success this week. Jason Sobel of The Action Network spotted a trend for recent Sony Open winners:

Kuchar can't coast to the finish line, however, as Putnam is near the top of the leaderboard because of his white-hot putting. Sean Martin of PGATour.com provided some numbers:

The 29-year-old won his first tournament last season when he took down the Barracuda Championship.

Putnam will have to chase Kuchar and ward off another hot golfer in Keith Mitchell, who went on a moving-day tear. In addition, he's been destroying the par-three seventh hole:

The 27-year-old Mitchell looks like a rising star: He had four top-10 finishes last season, including a 19-under performance for third place at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

He shares third with Reavie, who had three eagle hole-outs on Friday:

Reavie has used those eagles to give himself a puncher's chance at a Sunday victory, but he also impressed on Saturday with his four-under round. Despite back-to-back-to-back bogeys from holes 11 through 13, Reavie survived thanks to seven birdies, including five on the front nine.

If anyone from the giant pack of fifth-place finishers can rise and challenge Kuchar, it's likely Bryson DeChambeau, who is on fire lately:

DeChambeau also set a career-best mark on Saturday:

He'll likely have to beat that mark to take down Kuchar, who looks like he's about to roll toward his 15th professional win.

Kuchar and Putnam will tee off at 5:20 p.m. ET Sunday. Golf Channel will provide the television coverage starting at 6 p.m. ET.

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