Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ryan Palmer, Jason Day share Deutsche Bank lead

NORTON, Mass. — With an orange ribbon on his hat and nine birdies on his card, Matt Kuchar pulled within a shot of the lead Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Not that he needed a reminder, but a message posted on the scoring table spoke to the emotions involved in this tournament.

Players were offered a chance to donate to a trust fund for the 4-year-old daughter of Kuchar's caddie, Lance Bennett. Bennett's wife, Angela, died of a seizure Wednesday. Kuchar decided to play to raise awareness and get the PGA Tour involved in helping the family.

His performance certainly helped. Kuchar was a shot behind co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Jason Day after a 5-under 66 that featured six consecutive birdies around the turn. He was at 7-under 135 with Billy Horschel (66).

Palmer overcame a rocky start in the second round of the second of four FedEx Cup playoff events for par 71. Day struggled at the end for 68.

"You never know how things will work out in the game of golf," Kuchar said. "But right now, I feel like there's some inspiration and some fate working."

On his bag is Brian Reed, a longtime friend who introduced Kuchar to Bennett several years ago.

Kuchar was overcome by emotion Friday when he saw caddies and some players wearing black hats with orange ribbons in honor of Bennett's wife. Orange was Angela Bennett's favorite color. There were times he had a hard time taking the club back.

Saturday was easier, which he attributed to the natural progression of grief. "Still felt like Angela was on my mind almost every hole, every shot," Kuchar said.

Rory McIlroy had a double bogey late in his round that slowed his momentum. He had 69 and was five shots behind. Phil Mickelson had 69 and easily made the cut of 3 over at 1-over 145. But Mickelson's work is not over. Because 80 players made the cut, a 54-hole cut is today.

LPGA: Defending champion Suzann Pettersen shot her second straight 5-under 67 for a share of the third-round lead in the Portland Classic in Oregon. Carlota Ciganda and Mi Jung Hur shot 70 to match Pettersen at 11-under 205. First- and second-round leader I.K. Kim (74) was a shot back with So Yeon Ryu (70) and Hi Yu Lin (70).

Champions: Bob Tway shot 7-under 63 for a share of the second-round lead with Joe Durant (66) and Joe Daley (66) at 10-under 130 in the Shaw Charity Classic at Calgary, Alberta. Gary Hallberg (65), Mark McNulty (66) and David Frost (68) were 9 under. Tom Pernice Jr. and Bart Bryant, tied for the first-round lead after matching the course record of 62, struggled. Pernice had 70 to sit at 8 under, and Bryant shot 71 to finish at 7 under.