By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Playing at home and near home could well be an advantage for Matt Kuchar this weekend in THE PLAYERS Championship.
The Kuchar family moved to Ponte Vedra Beach from central Florida in 2001. His parents, wife and young boys tagged along for Friday’s second round on the Stadium Course as he shot a second-straight 68 to seize a share of the lead with Zach Johnson and Kevin Na.
So Kuchar has quite a comfort zone here. Matt and his wife, Sybi, a former Georgia Tech tennis player, even won the consolation title of the 2009 USTA National Husband/Wife Doubles Championships at the ATP Headquarters next door to TPC Sawgrass.
When Kuchar tees it up on Saturday as a co-leader of THE PLAYERS Championship, he’ll feel the support of the local community, even though his hometown could as easily be in Atlanta (where he attended Georgia Tech) or Orlando (where he was born in Winter Park).
“I feel like I have a lot of hometown tournaments, which is a nice way to be,” said Kuchar, 33. “There’s definitely a lot of support here. The local community is great, and I feel like it is one of my hometowns.”
Kuchar currently lives at St. Simons Island, Ga., which is less than two hours north of Ponte Vedra Beach. He and Johnson even played a casual round two weeks ago at Frederica Golf Club, their home course on the island. Matt’s young son and Zach’s son are best pals. St. Simons neighbors Harris English (7 under) and Jonathan Byrd (6 under) are also contending.
So could this be the week he comes home to glory? Kuchar’s best finish was a tie for 13 th in 2010. His record this year includes nine starts and nine made cuts, with a best finish of a tie for third at the Masters Tournament one month ago. His last victory came in the 2010 Barclays.