AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 13 (Reuters) - Matt Kuchar feasted on the long holes at Augusta National, making birdie on all four of the par-fives to surge into contention again at the Masters on Saturday.
Kuchar, who tied for third last year, canned a pair of two-foot birdies, one four-footer and one from six feet as he made the par-fives look easy on his way to a three-under-par 69 that lifted him into sixth place at four-under 212 for the championship.
“Here the par-fives are opportunities that you want to take advantage of, and I feel great about having birdied all four,” said Kuchar, whose resume includes the prestigious Players Championship and WGC Accenture Match Play titles but no majors.
“I would say that it’s a good feat, because even though they are all potential birdie holes, they’re all potential bogey holes or holes that you can mess up on. So taking advantage, 4-for-4 today, was great.”
Kuchar, 34, hopes his experience down the stretch at Augusta will help him break through.
The former U.S. Amateur champion from Georgia Tech was tied for the lead in last year’s final round after an eagle on the par-five 15th, but bogeyed 16 and missed out on joining a playoff with eventual winner Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.
”Last year was my first real time being in contention going late into Sunday,“ said Kuchar. ”It’s kind of what we all play golf for, having a chance at a major championship, having a chance at the Masters tournament. It’s exciting.
“I’ve not quite had the feelings anywhere else that I did when I made the eagle on 15 last year and got right in contention.”
“I think the more times you’re in that situation, the more comfortable you get. The more comfortable you get, I think the better you play.”
Kuchar will get to test that theory on another Masters Sunday, going into the final round three shots behind fellow American Brandt Snedeker and 2009 winner Angel Cabrera of Argentina, who shared the lead at seven-under 209.
Editing by ......