After finishing The Masters in the past two years in the top ten without including either of the Texas tournaments as part of his routine, Matt Kuchar decided to change-up this year and is playing well during the Texas Two-Stop. Kuchar opened the Shell Houston Open with a -6 under 66 on Thursday, and is one shot off the lead set by Bill Haas, and Charley Hoffman.
The 35 year-old Kuchar is getting along in his career, and is one of the better players on the PGA Tour who has yet to win a major championship. I personally think he is on the right track this year, and 2014 may well be the year that he get’s that monkey off his back, and on his resume.
“We spent back-to-back weeks together. Things started clicking really well,” said Kuchar, who’s coming off a fourth-place finish at last week’s Valero Texas Open. Kuchar has finished in the top 10 at Augusta National in each of the past two years, but didn’t play two consecutive weeks before either of those Masters. He is trying the new schedule to get more time with O’Connell before the year’s first major.
“I’ve had pretty good success the past two years in the Masters, so it was strange to change up the formula but I figured we were on to some pretty good things,” Kuchar said. He’s traditionally played well in May when he sees O’Connell during the TOUR’s back-to-back Dallas-area events, so he wanted to try a similar schedule in advance of the Masters.
After shooting 65 on Saturday at The Valero, I felt Matt had an excellent chance to win on Sunday, but the Texas Wind, and constant hassling by officials for slow-play took him out of his normally tight game. The weather in Houston is expected to be a factor, but it would be a good week for Kuchar to pick up a win before heading to Augusta.
“The great thing out here is you start all over the next week regardless whether you win or miss the cut,” Kuchar said. “I think you kind of need a bit of a short memory out here because every week you just start over fresh.”
It’s a virtual log jam at the top of the SHO leaderboard as The Kuch shares second place with a host of players that include Keegan Bradley, J.B. Holmes, Erik Compton, and Jim Renner. Nine players are two shots back, and twenty players at -4 under that includes Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, and Davis Love III.