PGA Tour fan favorite Matt Kuchar contending at Fortinet Championship | News Fission

One of the most popular players on the PGA Tour is contending in Northern California.

Fresh off a 7-under 65, Matt Kuchar heads into the final round of the Fortinet Championship trailing Sahith Theegala by three strokes.

He did not make a single bogey and made seven birdies, including a chip-in at the par-3 17th.

“It’s an exciting place to be,” Kuchar said when asked about his position on the leaderboard.

“Certainly a great leaderboard, some really good names up there at the top. I’m thrilled to be part of those names and looking forward to having some fun out there. Listen, this is kind of why we all play. You want to have a chance come Sunday, and golf gets a lot more fun when you’ve got a chance to win a tournament on Sunday.”

Kuchar always seems to have fun on the golf course, whether he is in contention or missing the cut. His smile is infectious, his dad jokes are contagious, and seemingly everyone on tour loves him.

He also works hard at his game, even though he has not recorded a top 10 since the Valero Texas Open in April.

“Everything’s kind of feeling pretty good,” Kuchar noted. “I put in some great work with my coach, Chris O’Connell. I feel as confident as I’ve been in a while of kind of understanding my swing and understanding what I’m trying to do to hit the shots I want to hit.”

Kuchar has rolled the ball nicely on the greens, too.

He leads the entire Fortinet Championship field in strokes gained putting, as he has gained a whopping 8.632 strokes on the greens.

But a former U.S. Open champion gave Kuchar the spark he needed with the flat stick.

“Shout out to Gary Woodland. I went down to see him last week, checking in and seeing the kids,” Kuchar explained.

Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland during a practice round at the 2020 U.S. Open.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

“We started talking shop, talking golf, and he shared with me some of the things he’s been working on with his putting. I went out to the putting green here on Tuesday, gave it a try, and thought, holy cow, that works for me, too. So big thanks to Gary because I’ve certainly done well with the putter in my hand this week.”

Now Kuchar, ranked 66th in the FedEx Cup standings, hopes to keep the good mojo going.

Should he finish within the top 5, Kuchar would slide up to 59th or higher in the standings, which would prove monumental for Kuchar with six events left on the PGA Tour Fall.

Those ranked 51st to 60th after the fall season automatically qualify for The Sentry and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the first two signature events of 2024.

“It’s a unique time to figure out where everybody stands in the game of golf,” Kuchar explained.

“I’m trying to get inside the top 60 to get a couple of exemptions into the elevated events. But listen, I love playing, love having a chance to compete. Being out here at Silverado, it’s a fantastic resort, a fantastic golf course. This is one that regardless of where on the schedule it is, I’m likely to find myself here.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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