KUCHAR BACK IN THE WORLD'S TOP 25
PGA Tour - Sony Open in Hawaii
Matt Kuchar overcame three early bogeys that cost him the lead with flawless golf and two key birdies on the back nine to close with a 4-under 66 and win the Sony Open in Hawaii for his second PGA TOUR title this season, his first this calendar year.
It wasn't as easy as his four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam might indicate.
Having made only one bogey through 54 holes to build a two-shot lead, Kuchar had three bogeys in his opening five holes Sunday and fell one shot behind Putnam, and he had to make a 10-foot birdie putt at the turn to avoid falling two shots behind.
Kuchar caught him with an aggressive pitch up the slope on the par-4 10th hole. They remained tied with five holes to play when Putnam made bogey from a deep bunker left of the 14th green, and Kuchar made a pair of 12-foot birdie putts on the next two holes to seize control.
Just like that, his lead was three shots, making for a pleasant walk up the par-5 18th.
Kuchar became the first multiple winner on the PGA TOUR this season, having ended a drought of more than four years when he captured the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico last November. It was only the second time in his career Kuchar has won twice in the same season. He won the Match Play Championship and the Memorial in 2013. Now, he has the meat of the season in front of him.
"I want to see how great this year can be," Kuchar said.
He finished at 22-under 258, the third-lowest total in Waialae history behind the PGA TOUR record of 253 by Justin Thomas in 2017 and Jimmy Walker's 72-hole score of 257 when he won in 2015.
Putnam, who won his first PGA TOUR title last summer at the Barracuda Championship, didn't blink until that approach into the bunker that led to his lone bogey, and he couldn't make enough putts to stay close to Kuchar the rest of the way.
He closed with a 68 and moved into the top 50 at World No.45, for the first time in his career.
All Thailand Golf Tour / Asian Development Tour - Boonchu Ruangkit Championship
Thailand’s Itthipat Burantanyarat rediscovered his winning form when he fired a seven-under-par 64 to win by two shots in the final round of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Sunday moving from World No.561 to 328.
The 25-year-old Thai broke his three-year title drought by staying focused on a pressure-filled final day to clinch the ฿4 million (approximately US$121,700) event with his winning total of 26-under-par 258.
Itthipat will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$21,862.98 and received 10 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points following his victory at the fifth edition of the event hosted by Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit.
American Johannes Veerman made a final charge with a 63, to share second place on a 260 total with England’s Steve Lewton, who ended his campaign with a 66 at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club.
Starting the round with a one-shot deficit, the Thai grabbed birdies on holes three, five and seven to make the turn in 32. He made another birdie on hole 10 before dropping his first shot of the day on hole 11 after hitting his tee shot into the water.
“On hole 11 I hit it in the water and made bogey which made me a little nervous with everyone catching up. But I was still able to control my emotions and rely on my short game.
I made three birdies in a row from there which really gave me that last bit of confidence going into the last hole,” added the Thai, who bounced back with four more birdies on his way home.
Itthipat claimed his maiden ADT victory in 2015 in the Philippines and went on to win again the year after in Singapore.
The Thai, who successfully made the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, is thrilled to find his groove so early on in the season and hopes that it will provide a timely boost as he aims to win his maiden victory on region’s premier Tour.
“I am very happy to be finally back to winning on the ADT. Winning on home course and in a tournament under Boonchu’s name. I have wanted to win this tournament so bad and I finally did it.
“My game wasn’t that good and I was struggling for a bit the last couple of years. But now I am just confident in my game and it gives me confidence to win on the Asian Tour,” added Itthipat.