Shell Houston Open 2014: Matt Kuchar distances himself from the field

Scott Halleran

A third straight round in the 60s has Matt Kuchar in the lead at the Houston Open.

Matt Kuchar began the third round one stroke off the lead, but jumped ahead on the first hole and remained there, pulling away from the field. At 15-under, Kuchar has a four-stroke lead heading into the final round.

Playing in the final group, Kuchar opened the round with a birdie, one of three in his first five holes. He leapfrogged Sergio Garcia on the opening hole and took the lead for good at No. 4. Three straight birdies on Nos. 12 through 14 had him 16-under overall. Kuchar would have had an even bigger lead, but dropped a shot on No. 18 with a three putt. Even with the late blemish, his 4-under 68 was good for the low round of the day. Kuchar will be in contention on Sunday for the second straight week, a positive trend heading into the Masters next week.

"It's a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win and again to come back this week, completely different course and have another shot to win," Kuchar said, via PGATour.com.

While Kuchar continued to surge, Garcia was unable to keep up. The 36-hole leader dropped into a tie for second at 11-under. He opened the round with a bogey on No. 1 and finished with three bogeys and two birdies for a 1-over round of 73. Garcia is tied for second with Cameron Tringale, and the two will join Kuchar in the final pairing on Sunday.

Phil Mickelson remained at 6-under with a third-round 72. Rory McIlroy shot a 2-over 74, dropping to 1-under and 14 strokes off the lead. Here is a complete look at the leaderboard through 54 holes.

Place

Player

Score

1st Round

2nd Round

3rd Round

Total

1

Matt Kuchar

-15

66

67

68

201

T2

Cameron Tringale

-11

68

68

69

205

T2

Sergio Garcia

-11

67

65

73

205

4

Matt Jones

-9

68

68

71

207

T5

Rickie Fowler

-8

70

70

68

208

T5

Ben Curtis

-8

67

70

71

208

7

Shawn Stefani

-7

67

69

73

209

T8

Jon Curran

-6

69

72

69

210

T8

Retief Goosen

-6

68

71

71

210

T8

J.B. Holmes

-6

66

73

71

210

T8

Phil Mickelson

-6

68

70

72

210

T12

Andres Romero

-5

72

69

70

211

T12

Chris Stroud

-5

68

72

71

211

T12

Brice Garnett

-5

68

71

72

211

T12

Ryan Palmer

-5

70

68

73

211

T16

Brian Gay

-4

71

70

71

212

T16

Charl Schwartzel

-4

67

75

70

212

T16

Hunter Mahan

-4

69

72

71

212

T16

Martin Flores

-4

68

72

72

212

T16

Erik Compton

-4

66

73

73

212

T16

Jim Renner

-4

66

72

74

212

T16

Jason Gore

-4

67

71

74

212

T23

Luke Donald

-3

71

71

71

213

T23

Lee Westwood

-3

70

72

71

213

T23

Graham Delaet

-3

70

71

72

213

T23

Michael Putnam

-3

68

72

73

213

T23

Camilo Villegas

-3

67

73

73

213

T23

Steve Stricker

-3

68

69

76

213

T23

Jimmy Walker

-3

71

65

77

213

T30

John Huh

-2

71

71

72

214

T30

Webb Simpson

-2

68

73

73

214

T30

Russell Henley

-2

73

69

72

214

T30

Freddie Jacobson

-2

68

72

74

214

T30

Nicholas Thompson

-2

71

69

74

214

T30

Ryo Ishikawa

-2

69

74

71

214

T30

Justin Hicks

-2

67

73

74

214

T37

Brian Harman

-1

70

71

74

215

T37

Jonathan Byrd

-1

68

74

73

215

T37

Rory McIlroy

-1

70

71

74

215

T37

Carl Pettersson

-1

69

74

72

215

T37

Bill Haas

-1

65

74

76

215

T42

Jeff Overton

E

73

69

74

216

T42

Jeff Maggert

E

69

73

74

216

T42

Angel Cabrera

E

68

73

75

216

T42

Stewart Cink

E

67

75

74

216

T42

Brendon Todd

E

69

74

73

216

T42

Keegan Bradley

E

66

77

73

216

T42

James Hahn

E

71

72

73

216

T42

Robert Garrigus

E

74

69

73

216

T42

John Rollins

E

68

76

72

216

T42

Ben Crane

E

70

74

72

216

T42

Brendon de Jonge

E

71

73

72

216

T53

Chris Kirk

1

68

74

75

217

T53

John Merrick

1

74

68

75

217

T53

David Toms

1

71

71

75

217

T53

Michael Thompson

1

67

73

77

217

T53

Ricky Barnes

1

70

73

74

217

T53

Kyle Stanley

1

69

74

74

217

T59

Jhonattan Vegas

2

67

75

76

218

T59

Harrison Frazar

2

71

71

76

218

T59

Greg Chalmers

2

69

74

75

218

T59

Ernie Els

2

68

76

74

218

T59

Tyrone van Aswegen

2

71

73

74

218

T59

Bubba Dickerson

2

74

70

74

218

T65

Davis Love III

3

68

73

78

219

T65

Charley Hoffman

3

65

76

78

219

T65

Kevin Chappell

3

71

72

76

219

T65

Henrik Stenson

3

71

72

76

219

T65

John Mallinger

3

72

72

75

219

T70

Tommy Gainey

4

71

72

77

220

T70

Hudson Swafford

4

70

74

76

220

T72

Stephen Ames

5

72

71

78

221

T72

J.J. Henry

5

72

71

78

221

T74

Kevin Kisner

6

71

70

81

222

T74

Justin Leonard

6

70

71

81

222

76

Roberto Castro

10

71

72

83

226

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