Posted January 14, 2019 in "Watts" In The Bag by Trevor Cigich
Article by Ron Green Jr. of Global Golf Post – Matt Kuchar and his family have turned January in Hawaii into an extended work/play excursion through the years and it got even better this year with Kuchar’s victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Less than three months ago, Kuchar was in a four-year winless drought on the PGA Tour, his familiar consistency failing to translate into victories. Then he won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November and now he’s won twice in the 2018-19 wraparound season, joining Xander Schauffele as the only other multiple winner so far.
“I think Jay-Z said 40 is the new 20,” the 40-year-old Kuchar said. I’m awfully pleased with my game. Last year was disappointing. To win two out of three events is crazy to comprehend.”
In picking up his ninth career Tour victory, Kuchar started the final round with two-stroke lead at Waialae Country Club but found himself chasing Andrew Putnam for a significant portion of Sunday afternoon following a rocky start that could have derailed him.
Instead, Kuchar steadied himself on the closing holes and wound up with a four-stroke victory ahead of Putnam. Kuchar shot a closing 66 to finish 22-under-par 258.
Kuchar seemingly had taken control of the tournament by shooting 63-63 in the first two rounds, walking through the Hawaiian sunshine like a man on vacation. In a sense, Kuchar treats his visits to Hawaii like a working getaway.
He tied for 19th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui then came to Honolulu where he found his form.
Having knocked off the working part of the extended trip, Kuchar and his family will spend this week on Kauai then head to the big island of Hawaii before returning to the mainland.
“I love the combination of playing tournaments and vacation,” said Kuchar, who picked up his 100th top-10 Tour finish. “I know this week, last week, the kids have had some fun activities where I have not been able to participate and I kind of get a little bit jealous. I would like to be out in the water, hiking, whatever it may be that they’re doing.
“(We) love having the combination of a tournament or two and a couple weeks of vacation time.”
“It was not at all what I was looking for,” Kuchar said. “I tried to stay confident. There was a three-putt and a bad wedge. That is so uncharacteristic of me. I knew I could keep plugging along good things were going to happen.”
The tournament began to change when Kuchar birdied the par-5 ninth hole. He then pulled even with Putnam with a birdie at the 10th. Putnam made a terrific par save at the par-3 11th, holing a 19-foot putt from the fringe to stay even with Kuchar.
Putnam’s game turned ragged coming in and a bogey at the par-4 14th gave Kuchar a lead that he continued to expand. Birdies at the 15th and 16th holes stretched his advantage to three and allowed him to enjoy the walk in.
“It was nice to have that pressure and come through and make some birdies,” Kuchar said. “Getting that birdie on 15 and that birdie on 16 made 18 very nice to play.”
3-wood: Titleist TS2 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 757 X
Hybrids: Bridgestone Tour B XD-H (18 degrees), Ping Anser (20)
Shafts: Fujikura Motore Speeder TS 8.8 X flex
Irons: Bridgestone J15CB (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 S300 (soft stepped)
Wedges: Bridgestone J40 Forged (52 degrees, bent to 51); Cleveland RTX4 (58 bent to 57 degrees), Cleveland RTX-3 (62 bent to 63 degrees)
Shafts: Aerotech Steelfiber i110X, KBS Tour 120 S, KBS Tour 120 S
Putter: Bettinardi DASS KM-1 Arm Lock (soft carbon steel, 400 grams, 2.5 degrees loft)
Grip: Lamkin Arm Lock
Golf ball: Bridgestone Tour B X
Grips: Iomic X-Grip
Republished with permission from Global Golf Post