JERSEY CITY, New Jersey: Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland battled to a tie for the lead at breezy Liberty National and will be paired for a final-round yesterday duel at The Barclays, the opening event of the FedExCup playoffs.
Kuchar carded a one-under 70, while fellow-American Woodland shot a 68 to finish yesterday’s third round locked at 12-under-par 131.
World number six Kuchar, who has two wins this season, was paired with big-hitting Woodland and came away impressed.
“Man, that guy can play some golf,” said Kuchar, who led by two strokes after finishing a second round of 65 yesterday. “Gary was really impressive.”
Said Woodland, who ran off four birdies in a row at one point, “I drove the ball beautifully all day, and finally I got some putts to go in.”
Unheralded Kevin Chappell fired a sensational, course record 62 to leap up the leaderboard and stand one stroke behind his compatriots in pursuit of his first title on the PGA Tour.
A Kuchar-Woodland duel, however, is far from assured with world number one Tiger Woods lurking just four shots off the pace tied for fourth with England’s David Lynn.
Woods and Lynn both returned two-under-par 69s on the waterside course under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
Woods, among 40 players who returned early yesterday to complete a second round 69 after play was suspended due to darkness in the weather-hit event, slipped from seven-under with a pair of bogeys but battled back with three late birdies to reach eight-under 205.
“Just hung in there and that was a grind,” said world number one Woods, who has been bothered by a sore back after a poor night’s sleep on a soft hotel bed this week.
Seven players were tied at 206, including US Open champion Justin Rose of England (70), Americans Bubba Watson (68), Rickie Fowler (71), Jim Furyk (70), Kevin Streelman (68) and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth (68), and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt (70).
Kuchar, who was grouped with Woods in the resumption of their second round, claimed a two-shot lead over Woodland and 2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson at the 36-hole mark. afp