By Kurt Voigt ,AP
HUMBLE, Texas — Matt Kuchar didn’t have the result he had hoped for while playing in the final pairing at last week’s Texas Open.
The six-time PGA Tour winner, who closed with a final-round 75 on his way to a fourth-place finish last week, will have the opportunity to show what he learned from that disappointing finish at this week’s Houston Open.
Playing in the final pairing, Kuchar vaulted past a struggling Sergio Garcia with a 4-under par 68 on Saturday — overcoming windy conditions at the Golf Club of Houston to match the low round of the day and take a four-shot lead after three rounds.
Kuchar stands at 15 under overall heading into Sunday’s final round, four shots ahead of second-round leader Garcia and Cameron Tringale. The three will be paired together on Sunday.
“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win and again to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win,” Kuchar said.
Kuchar’s last win came at the Memorial last year, and he has eight top 10 finishes this season in 10 events.
He’ll have the opportunity add to that resume on Sunday, weather permitting, as well as fuel his surging confidence leading into next week’s Masters, where he finished in a tie for eighth last year.
The prospect of a winner’s share of nearly US$1.2-million, however, has Kuchar locked in on this weekend first — even with the prospect of competing for his first major championship looming next week.
“I’ve been playing some steady golf for a couple of years now and feel like my chances of playing well tomorrow are pretty good,” Kuchar said. “Having a four-shot lead is a great position to be in.”
The golfers went off both tees in threesomes early Saturday morning in anticipation of severe weather in the evening, a format they’ll use again Sunday with hopes of avoiding a Monday finish leading into next week’s visit to Augusta National.
Garcia, who surged ahead with a 7-under 65 on Friday, began the day with a one-shot lead over Kuchar. That disappeared quickly after the Spaniard bogeyed the first to fall back to 11 under and into a tie with his playing partner, Kuchar.