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April 11 2013

8:45 PM

Steady Kuchar goes late for a 68

The light was fading Thursday as Matt Kuchar neared the completion of his first round (How/Getty Images)

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Matt Kuchar was in the final group to tee off in Thursday's first round at the Masters, so he had plenty of time to watch television coverage of some of the early finishers.

He heard the announcers talk about how the morning groups had the better scoring conditions while the afternoon groups might be dealing with a firmer course and potential weather issues.

Eventually, he had to shut off the TV.

"I can't listen to this any more," he said.

But the conditions held up long enough, allowing Kuchar to shoot a 4-under 68 that puts him into a six-way tie for fourth, two strokes behind co-leaders Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman.

For Kuchar, who'll defend his title next month at THE PLAYERS Championship, it was a typical round for him. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in a round that included six birdies. The 68 is just the fifth time in 23 career rounds at Augusta National that he has shot in the 60s.

"I was steady," he said. "I hit a lot of fairways and had a lot of birdie chances."

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