Kuchar holds on for victory at Sony Open

The Associated Press HONOLULU (AP) — Matt Kuchar didn’t have the start he wanted Sunday in the Sony Open, not with three bogeys in five holes after making just one through three rounds.

The finish was better than he could have imagined.

Kuchar seized control late in the round with back-to-back birdie putts, the second one on No. 16 prompting a rare show of emotion with a fist pump. And when he tapped in for a birdie and a four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam, he looked back across the sky at a rainbow stretching across the sky.

“It was too cool to have a rainbow appear on the 18th hole,” Kuchar said.

Kuchar overcame his sloppy start with flawless golf the rest of the way — he putted for birdie on the last 13 holes — and pulled away with a critical three-hole stretch at Waialae for a 4-under 66 to become the first multiple winner on the PGA Tour this season.

He won the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico two months ago, another finish that was tighter than it needed to be.

Not bad for a 40-year-old who ended last season failing to get to the Tour Championship for the first time since 2009, and ending his streak of playing on eight consecutive teams in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

“I was pretty frustrated,” Kuchar said. “I think the frustrating thing was I felt like I was doing some good things and just not seeing results. That sometimes is hard to take, when you think you’re on the right course and the right path and not seeing results. Nice to see it turn around.”

Putnam, who won the Barracuda Championship last summer and was runner-up at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, shot a 68. He moves into the top 50 in the world for the first time at No. 45.

Kuchar 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.

Corey Conners of Canada, who got into the field through a Monday qualifier, had a 64-64 weekend and was among four players who tied for third.Speech