RICHMOND, Texas -- PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar took a
three-stroke lead Saturday in the season-ending Nationwide Tour
Championship, holing a 30-foot eagle putt and a 40-foot birdie chip
en route to a 5-under 67.
Already safe in the race for 2007 PGA Tour cards at No. 12 on
the money list, the former Georgia Tech star started the day in a
five-way tie for the lead.
Kuchar, the 2002 Honda Classic winner, distanced himself from
the field with the eagle putt on the par-5 fifth hole and the chip
shot on 17. He had a 13-under 209 total on The Houstonian course.
Boo Weekley was second after a 68.
Kuchar got his PGA Tour card the first time through sponsor
"I did it in pretty neat fashion the first time," Kuchar said.
"I've done a lot of great things in golf. This time, I feel like
Still, he felt lucky after Saturday's round. His eagle had a big
left to right break "that could have easily gotten away," Kuchar
said. The chip in also was special.
"Those were two things that don't happen often so I had some
breaks and otherwise I had little trouble," Kuchar said. "I knew
if I played well, I could get some separation."
The field is fighting for 22 PGA Tour cards. The season money
champion will be fully exempt on the 2007 PGA Tour and earn a spot
in The Players Championship. The next 21 finishers on the final
money list will be conditionally exempt on the PGA Tour and Nos.
23-37 will get byes to the final stage of Q-school.
Buckle, Kresge, Baryla and Brandt Snedeker were tied with Kuchar
for the 36-hole lead. Snedeker (75) slipped to 5 under.
Ken Duke started the week atop the money list with $369,318,
followed by Johnson Wagner ($356,319), Craig Bowden ($327,171),
Kresge ($321,013) and Jeff Quinney ($311,952). Kuchar entered the
week with $234,867.
Duke continued to fade with a third-round 76 for a 1-over total.
Wagner moved into position to challenge for the money lead with a
72 that left him at 6 under.
Weekley has a string of seven straight sub-par rounds since a
wrist injury forced him to withdraw after the first round of the
PalmettoPride Classic. He returned with a second-place finish in
the Miccosukee Championship two weeks ago.
He's eager to get on the PGA Tour.
"It's still golf," Weekley said. "That's what it's about to
me. I ain't got nobody walking in my shoes but me. I got nothing to
prove to anyone but me."