Kuchar looking to back up career year

Matt Kuchar hits a shot on the 1st hole during the third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation course on January 8, 2011 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Matt Kuchar hits a shot on the 1st hole during the third round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation course on January 8, 2011 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Matt Kuchar was muddling along during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, making back-to-back bogeys to slip back to 2 under for the week as the rest of the field ran away from him.

And then he got hot. He birdied five of his final 10 holes Friday, then went on a run in Saturday’s third round during which he birdied six of eight. A third-round, 7-under 66 leaves him at 14 under, and very much in the mix heading into the final round of the season-opener.

Kuchar, 32, is coming off a career season. He won a playoff event (The Barclays), made his first Ryder Cup team, was second in the FedEx Cup and captured the Arnold Palmer Award (leading money winner), Vardon Trophy (low stroke average) and Byron Nelson Award (lowest adjusted stroke average). As a reward, he re-signed for three years with Bridgestone, landed a new three-year deal with RBC, and even accepted an offer to head over to Qatar next month, his first venture to the Middle East.

So, if you think he had might have had a difficult time resetting goals for the start of a new season, think again.

“I’m not a big goal-setter,” he said. “There are so many adjustments to be made, and I never found goals that really made sense to me. Like shooting a number. It just never made sense to me. You take what the course gives you and you do your best with what you’ve got.

“There are always things I know I could improve upon. You can always chip and putt better, and I know my ballstriking can continue to get better. But as far as trying to improve upon being No. 1 on the money list, and No. 2 in the FedEx Cup, well, it’s hard to do.”

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