5 things: Inside Kuchar's success

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Matt Kuchar after winning The Barclays.

When swinging a golf club, Matt Kuchar looks like he’s in a basement with a low ceiling. Yet the lanky professional stands out for reasons other than that flat swing. He not only finished first Sunday at The Barclays, but he’s first on the PGA Tour in scoring average, earnings, FedEx Cup points, top-10 finishes and the all-around statistical category.

Kuchar has ascended largely because he really excels using the three clubs that matter most in golf: driver, wedge, putter. He’s sixth on Tour in greens in regulation, 13th in putting average and 28th in driving accuracy. That’s a recipe for achieving wealth.

Kuchar had just 10 top-10s in his first 149 professional starts. Now he has 10 this year. The reason for the drastic before-after pictures is that he has found a swing that works well for him. It all goes back to 2006 when met instructor Chris O’Connell.

The result of that instruction is a tighter shot pattern and a career in full bloom.

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Shiho Oyama

The forgotten lady of Japanese women’s golf will make a welcome return to action this week.

After a year out of competition, Shiho Oyama takes her place in the starting line-up in the Japan LPGA Tour’s Golf 5 Ladies.

The 2006 money-list winner in Japan, who was a rookie on the LPGA last year, has not played competitively since last September due to injury. After months of pain, she underwent surgery on her left elbow last December and is only now ready to re-start her career.

Oyama, a 12-time winner in Japan, whose best finish in America was sixth place at the 2009 Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, is hoping a good run of form from now until the end of the year will propel her back to the LPGA in 2011.

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Tony Johnstone

This week’s Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters on the European Seniors Tour is like a trip down memory lane for Europe’s over-50 brigade.

The Dukes Course at Woburn is a layout close to the hearts of Europe’s senior golfers. Most played this course annually when it hosted the British Masters between 1979-2002.

Defending champion Tony Johnstone spoke for most of the field when he said: “Woburn’s (newer) Marquess course is a great test, but the boys love the Dukes. This tree-lined gem was one we all looked forward to playing when we were on the regular tour. So we love coming back here. It’s a classic test.”

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Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler’s eagle on the par-5 17th in the third round of the Barclays last weekend nearly guarantees a $1 million bonus for the 21-year-old in the Kodak Challenge.

The American is at 14-under par and two shots clear in the sponsored competition where players choose their best scores for 18 holes from 30 designated Kodak Holes at U.S. PGA Tour events through the year.

Fowler has played 17 events and needs one more birdie from the four events left to clinch the cash. Next on the schedule is the 18th hole at the Annandale Golf Club in the Viking Classic (Sept. 30-Oct. 3).

Kevin Streelman won the inaugural Kodak Challenge in 2009.

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Paul McGinley

It’s getting down to crunch time for Paul McGinley – time he made a move into the top 115 on the European money list to ensure his playing rights next year.

McGinley, one of Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup vice-captains, is currently 136th on the money list and needs a good close to the season. His exemption for winning the 2005 Volvo Masters expires at the end of this year.

The veteran Irishman struggled with a knee injury at the start of the year, and is only getting back to form now.

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