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August 26 2011

10:51 PM

Kuchar in the catbird seat

EDISON, N.J. – Matt Kuchar has a chance to successfully defend his title at The Barclays on Saturday. 

And depending on the whims of the weather, Kuchar may have already won the first event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup for the second straight time.

Kuchar fired a 65 on Friday to move to 14 under, one stroke ahead of Dustin Johnson and Vijay Singh. Johnson matched the low round of the tournament with a bogey-free 63 while Singh., who has won The Barclays three times previously, came in with a 64.

With Hurricane Irene fast approaching, tournament officials decided to shorten The Barclays to 54 holes. There is a 90 percent chance of rain on Saturday, though, and with the bulk of the storm expected to pummel the area on Sunday there is no wiggle room.

The 72 players who made the cut will be grouped in threesomes and sent off Nos. 1 and 10 from 7-9 a.m. on Saturday in hopes of finishing before the worst of the weather begins to arrive around 2 p.m. If everyone finishes 54 holes, the man at the top of the leaderboard wins.

If not, the tournament will revert to 36 holes and the FedExCup points will be distributed. That means Kuchar would get the unofficial victory and rise to No. 1 in the standings.

Jonathan Byrd will start the final round within three strokes of Kuchar at 11 under. Justin Rose, Aaron Baddeley, Padraig Harrington and Charley Hoffman are also in double digits and four strokes off the pace.

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