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Kuchar stays in control of leaderboard, playoffs

Matt Kuchar, No. 1 in the PGA Tour point standings, opens the third playoff event, the BMW Championship, with 7-under 64.

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Matt Kuchar, No. 1 in the PGA Tour point standings, opens the third playoff event, the BMW Championship, with 7-under 64.

LEMONT, Ill. — Having his best season, Matt Kuchar got off to his best start of the year Thursday in the BMW Championship.

Kuchar, who won the first of four PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoff events to position himself for the $10 million playoff-winning bonus, wasted no time putting his name atop the leaderboard in event No. 3. He finished with an 18-foot birdie putt for 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Ryan Moore.

Ian Poulter, who has finished in the top 10 only once since winning the Match Play Championship in February, had 66 for the best round of the afternoon despite opening with a double bogey.

Tiger Woods also started with a double bogey, but he never got those shots back. With one last bogey on the 18th hole, he wound up with 73 to leave himself in a big hole as he tries to advance to the final stage of the playoffs in Atlanta next week. The top 30 in the points standings after this tournament advance.

Woods had his highest round at Cog Hill since he opened with 73 in the 2005 Western Open. It also ended a streak of 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s on the public course in the Chicago suburbs where he has won five times.

"I just didn't have much (Thursday)," Woods said. "Guys aren't going low at this place because the greens aren't good enough to go low. Obviously there's a couple players that have played well (Thursday), but overall the guys just aren't tearing the place apart."

Phil Mickelson, not a fan of Cog Hill, ended with a bogey on the par-5 ninth hole for 72. He was asked if it was harder to play a course for which he has little affection. "Yes," he replied.

Everything is good with Kuchar, except his voice. He is playing so well — the winner at the playoff-opening Barclays, a tour-high 10 finishes in the top 10 this year — that there's really nothing left for him to say.

Not that he had a choice. Kuchar has laryngitis and begged off interviews. It was the second-best start of his career and the 21st time in 23 events this year that he broke par in the first round.

"Just keep playing," Kuchar said to one question he felt good enough to answer. "I was driving it well. I was actually doing everything well. It felt very good."

LPGA: Heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine forced the cancellation of the pro-am at the Northwest Arkansas Championship in Rogers. The National Weather Service said 3 to 5 inches had fallen since midnight Wednesday. The 54-hole tournament is scheduled to run today through Sunday.

Kuchar stays in control of leaderboard, playoffs 09/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:32pm]
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