April 17, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Matt Kuchar made no bogeys in his opening round. (Tyler Lecka)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Whatever mental fatigue Matt Kuchar felt from the year's first major seemed to be flushed away by the opening round of the RBC Heritage.
Kuchar shot a 5-under 66 on a brisk, windy morning at Harbour Town, where he has the early clubhouse lead.
"You have a couple of days to unwind after a major, and then Thursday starts and then you've got a chance to play another PGA TOUR event," he said. "It's pretty easy to get excited for this."
With good reason.
Four times Kuchar has finished in the top 15 at Harbour Town, which includes a tie for seventh in 2008, his best finish in the event. His 66 Thursday was also his best career score in the tournament.
It was made even better by the conditions.
Playing in a steady 15-20 mph wind the entire round, Kuchar made five birdies and no bogeys. He also missed just two fairways and hit 14 of 18 greens.
His best shot of the day, though, didn't even result in birdie. It came on the difficult par-4 18th, where he hit his approach into a stiff wind from 204 yards. The ball landed in a greenside bunker and he got up-and-down to save par.
"I hit my hybrid as good as I could," Kuchar said. "I couldn't imagine trying to hit 3‑wood in there, but it nearly was a 3‑wood in for me. To make par on 18 was a great score."
It also continued the recent trend of good golf that Kuchar has played of late. In his last three starts, he hasn't finished outside the top 5, which included a tie for fifth last week at Augusta National.
"Certainly you're so tested at the Masters, and you have to be so precise around major championship golf that I think a lot of times guys next week they're a little more alert, a little more sharp because of the precision required at major championships," Kuchar said. "I think you're going to see a lot of guys if they're not maybe too run down from a major championship come out and play some pretty good golf the week following.