PGA Tour

Kuchar brings plenty of momentum into RBC Heritage

Former Georgia Tech star has four straight top-10 finishes

ccox@islandpacket.comApril 12, 2012 

Matt Kuchar headed back to his home in Sea Island, Ga., on Sunday night finally expecting to get a sound night's sleep.

But that didn't happen. Instead, the 33-year-old ended up rehashing his final round at Augusta National Golf Club earlier that day, counting the missed opportunities hole by hole. The one-time amateur darling nearly won the Masters almost 15 years after he initially burst on the scene as a teenager.

"I figured it would be great to have a night in my own bed, and it was just not an easy night's sleep," he said. "There was all the things replaying in my head as to the day, being two shots back at the end of the tournament, being that close."

Kuchar entered the final day at the Masters 5-under par before birdies on the 12th and 13th holes helped him pull within striking distance. He eventually pulled into a tie atop the leaderboard with an eagle on 15 before slipping to a third-place finish, due in part to a bogey on the par-3 16th.

The former low amateur at the Masters came just two shots away from competing in the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen, his best finish since that magical 1998 run when he placed 21st.

"That was my first major really being in contention, really having a shot," he said. "And I played great on the back nine. It was I think mostly good stuff. I take a lot of good things away from last week."

He'll attempt to carry that momentum from Sunday's final round into this week, where he'll compete in the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. The former Georgia Tech star, who is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, finished tied for 21st in last year's Heritage.

"I'm excited to be here," Kuchar said. "Hilton Head, this tournament, the Heritage is one of my favorite events of the year. I always look forward to this."

Kuchar enters the weekend on quite a roll. He has finished in the top 10 in each of his last four events, which includes a tie for fifth at the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

Some of that can be credited to the adjustments he has made to his putting stance in recent weeks, which he altered with the help of his instructor, Mike Shannon. Kuchar now crouches down over the ball a bit more and keeps his elbows in tighter, in addition to opening up his stance. He tried the belly putter earlier in the year but gave it up after the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in favor of anchoring a putter on his forearm.

Kuchar is anxious to take another shot at claiming the tartan jacket this year. His best finish at the Heritage came in 2008, when he finished tied for seventh at 8 under.

"I'm excited about the way I'm playing," he said. "I think I should have a good opportunity come Sunday around here, and hopefully get a different color jacket."

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