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July 31 2010

5:07 PM

Kuchar gets putter untracked

Tee to green during the first two rounds of The Greenbrier Classic, Matt Kuchar had been extremely solid -- hitting 28 of 36 greens and 23 of 28 fairways. His putter, though, had let him down.

MattKuchar That is, until he rolled in an 8-footer at the 18th hole on Friday to make the cut. It was his 34th putt of the round, but turns out, it may have been a game-changer.

Kuchar went out in the third group on Saturday morning and made birdie on seven of his first 10 holes on the way to a 63. That round vaulted him to 9 under for the tournament and into the upper echelon of the leaderboard.

"Today I walk off happy after the way I putted," said Kuchar, who used just 25 strokes on the greens. "Just one of those things.  I birdied the last hole yesterday to make the cut -- saw the putt go in and thought maybe things were gonna go my way. They did."

Kuchar said the playing conditions couldn't have been better on this relatively calm and comfortable Saturday morning. And his 63 wasn't even the lowest score of the early finishers -- J.B. Holmes, playing three groups behind, had a 60.

"It was just perfect out," Kuchar said. "Always looked like this course you could make a lot of birdies. ... It was nice. No humidity. The ball was still going a long way. Course was soft. It was fun to play, especially if you were making putts. I saw a lot of putts go in today."

When Derek Lamely finished one group ahead of Kuchar, he said he wouldn't be surprised to see someone shot the magic 59 on the Old White Course. Kuchar wouldn't rule it out, either.

"With a par 70, there's a lot of opportunities," Kuchar said. "You hit wedges in there. The greens are putting beautifully early this morning. Couple reachable par 5s on the back, so we may see a 59 by the time the day is over."

Kuchar, Lamely and Holmes are bidding to become the second straight player to make the cut on the number and go on to win. Carl Pettersson did it last week at the RBC Canadian Open, aided by a third-round 60.

"He gives us all hope," said Kuchar, who was five strokes off the overnight lead held by Jeff Overton when he finished.  He’s afraid that Overton, who has finished third or better in four of his last nine starts, could run away and hide after he tees off at 1:55 p.m..

"I think the way Jeff Overton is playing, I think any bit back is too far back,” said Kuchar. “Jeff's playing great.  I think the rest of us will hope to have a good tournament.

"You could shoot 57 and still may not be enough the way Jeff Overton is playing.  He's certainly gonna make a lot of birdies. Just one of those things.  I don't think you could make enough birdies to catch him."— Helen Ross

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