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May 18 2012

1:10 AM

Kuchar keeps the momentum going

Watch: Kuchar birdies No. 9

Matt Kuchar birdied the ninth hole en route to an opening 66 on Thursday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

IRVING, Texas – Ride the momentum. That’s Matt Kuchar’s motto this week.

After winning THE PLAYERS Championship on Sunday for the biggest win of his career, Kuchar had extra obligations and little time to refocus for this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. But he does have the momentum of playing well, and it carried over to Thursday’s 4-under 66 that leaves him just two shots off the lead held by Ryan Palmer.

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“There is extra confidence knowing that I’m doing a lot of things well,” Kuchar said.

What did he do well on Thurday? He bounced back from his only bogey of the day, at the opening hole, by going a bogey-free 5 under over the next 17 holes. He had 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, placing him in the top 10 in the field in both categories after the first round.

And he was just one of nine players to make birdie at the long par-4 third hole, which played as the toughest hole of the day. That was his bounce-back birdie after that opening bogey, and it set the tone for the rest of his round.

“That’s a tough hole,” Kuchar said of No. 3, which played to 506 yards on Thursday. “I think normally it’s a par 5, and to play it as a par 4 and walk away with a birdie there is a great score.

“Felt like I knew I was playing well but nice to get back on the good side of things again.”

Kuchar said he’s a little tired, but that the work with swing coach Chris O’Connell this week has helped to keep him dialed in as he looks to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win PGA TOUR events in consecutive weeks.

“We don’t have that many chances to get together,” Kuchar said. “I figured I would take advantage, and the U.S. Open is not far around the corner. I’m hoping to really continue to be share and get even sharper come the U.S. Open.”

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