jersey city, n.j.
Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland began their week at The Barclays by going to Citi Field and getting a tour of the clubhouse, where Kuchar noticed an indoor batting cage and asked if they could try it out. He stood behind the net and threw to Woodland, a promising baseball player in high school.
“Gary hit and was really impressive,” Kuchar said. “I didn’t hit and didn’t show anything differently, but Gary was impressive swinging a baseball bat.”
Woodland isn’t too bad with a golf club in his hands, either.
Playing with Kuchar in the final group, Woodland ran off four straight birdies Saturday afternoon with another powerful display of his athleticism and shot a 3-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with Kuchar going into the final round at Liberty National.
“Man, that guy can play some golf,” Kuchar said, knowing that Woodland was within earshot.
Kuchar, who played bogey-free on the back nine in blustery conditions for a 70, remains more polished. He already has two wins this year, at the Match Play Championship and Memorial, and he is a past champion at The Barclays.
For much of the day they were trading birdies — along with a few bad breaks — and wound up tied at 12-under 201.
Kuchar’s from off the green on the reachable par-4 16th was stopped by a sprinkler, while Woodland putted his to close range for birdie. Woodland gave back the stroke on the next hole with a drive that plugged into the far end of the bunker, forcing him to blast it out sideways and costing him a bogey.
They are close friends and former World Cup partners.
But the final round at Liberty National doesn’t belong to only them. Kevin Chappell broke the tournament course record with a 62 — 10 shots better than Saturday’s average — and was one shot behind.