PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Matt Kuchar determined at the final minute to play the Mayakoba Golf Classic and made it seem like a wise transfer Thursday.
Kuchar missed solely two fairways at El Camaleon Golf Club and saved bogeys off his card for a 7-under 64 that gave him a share of the lead with Dominic Bozzelli and PGA Tour rookie Kramer Hickok.
Kuchar has gone greater than 4 years since his final PGA Tour victory. His 64 was his lowest opening spherical on tour since a 64 within the 2017 Phoenix Open.
“It’s a bit of a working vacation,” mentioned Kuchar, who introduced his household to the resort. “I had a good time at the office, as well.”
Most gamers did, with greater than half of the 132-man discipline capturing within the 60s.
Jordan Spieth was not amongst them. Playing his second straight week within the fall — and his final event earlier than his wedding ceremony — Spieth traded birdies and bogeys and needed to settle for an even-par 71, leaving him in want of an excellent spherical Friday simply to stay round for the weekend.
One of his former roommates had no such points.
Hickok additionally performed faculty golf at Texas and lived with Spieth in Dallas till just a few months in the past, when all of the roommates needed to discover different preparations as Spieth prepares for his marriage to Annie Verret.
Spieth had his first PGA Tour victory seven months after leaving faculty early. Hickok toiled on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, then the Web.com Tour earlier than lastly making it to the massive leagues. But he says he learns a lot by enjoying with Spieth at residence.
“I’m reaching out when I’m home and trying to pick his brain a little bit here and there, but really just watching him play, what he does at practice,” Hickok mentioned.
Among these within the giant group at 65 was Abraham Ancer, whose tie for fourth final week in Las Vegas moved him to No. 98 on this planet. That made Ancer the primary Mexican golfer to crack the highest 100 on this planet rating, and he carried that to his native soil and saved transferring in the correct course.
Also at 65 had been Bud Cauley as he returns from a automotive accident at the Memorial in early June, and defending champion Patton Kizzire, who made back-to-back eagles on the par-5 fifth gap and by holing out on the par-Four sixth.
Rickie Fowler was amongst these at 66.
Kuchar has slipped to No. 40 on this planet, failed to succeed in the third spherical of the FedEx Cup playoffs for the primary time in a decade and didn’t play within the Ryder Cup for the primary time in 10 years. He nonetheless retains upbeat on and off the golf course, and determined whereas in Las Vegas (a tie for 57th) to play Mayakoba.
His caddie already had different plans, so Kuchar employed an area caddie from El Camaleon.
His spouse, Sybi, additionally acquired in on the act. Kuchar was enjoying with Zach Johnson, whose caddie (Damon Green) grew to become unwell from the warmth with 4 holes to play. Kuchar’s spouse was following alongside within the gallery and carried Johnson’s bag the remainder of the way in which.
“I knew she had caddied for me before and was friendly with Zach Johnson, and figured she would be good to handle it, and Zach would go easy on her,” Kuchar mentioned.
Kuchar and Johnson dwell at Sea Island on the Georgia coast.
Spieth was 2 underneath by way of eight holes till he dropped three pictures over the following eight holes. Going again to an previous driver did not assist as he hit solely six fairways, making it powerful to attain for anybody out of the tough.
“If you’re not driving it well, this course is extremely hard,” Kuchar mentioned. “If you’re driving it well, you can make some birdies, which I was able to do today.”