Matt Kuchar’s form returns in time for Masters

Matt Kuchar of the United States fist bumps Victor Perez of France after winning 2&1 in the third place round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 28, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Matt Kuchar of the United States fist bumps Victor Perez of France after winning 2&1 in the third place round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 28, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Last week’s third-place showing at the WGC-Match Play Championship was a positive sign for Georgia Tech graduate Matt Kuchar as he prepares for next week’s Masters.

It was his first top-10 finish of the 2020-21 season and best effort since he tied for second at the Genesis Invitational in 2020, just a few weeks before the pandemic stopped the PGA Tour for three months.

“It was fun for me to play some good golf again,” Kuchar said. “It had been a while for me. Since the break I’ve really been somewhat frustrated, disappointed with my performance, and it was so nice to regain some form and play some good golf.”

Kuchar has spent the past six months working with instructor Chris O’Connell to eliminate clubface rotation through impact and become more consistent. He credited his wife, Sybi, for helping him remain positive through the rough stretch that saw him miss the cut five times in 12 starts, a very un-Kuchar like performance.

“She said, ‘Listen, you’ve got to stay positive. You’ve been so consistent, this is a normal thing. If you just stay the course, keep working, it will get better,’” Kuchar said. “So glad to have gotten out of that, but there were some serious frustrations. I don’t know if I’ve ever hit as many balls. The only way of getting out of this is figuring it out. The work with Chris has definitely paid off.”

Georgia men get first win of the spring

The No. 10-ranked Georgia men are trending in the right direction and posted a 10-shot win at the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship, the team’s first victory of the spring. The Bulldogs closed with a 4-under 284 and finished the tournament at 20-under 844, a 10-shot win over Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

“This really was a team victory in every sense,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said. “We got contributions from everyone in the lineup. We can really build off a win like this.”

Eli Scott closed with a 69 and finished second with a career-best 8-under 207, two shots behind medalist Sam Bennett of Texas A&M. Spencer Ralston tied for sixth, and Davis Thompson tied for 16th.

Georgia State freshman Mahina Leveau was named the Sun Belt Conference Golfer of the Week after she tied for second at the 2021 Georgia State Invitational.
Georgia State freshman Mahina Leveau was named the Sun Belt Conference Golfer of the Week after she tied for second at the 2021 Georgia State Invitational.

Credit: Todd Drexler/SESPORTSMEDIA.com

Credit: Todd Drexler/SESPORTSMEDIA.com

Georgia State’s Leveau honored by Sun Belt

Georgia State freshman Mahina Leveau was named the Sun Belt Conference Golfer of the Week after she tied for second at the Georgia State Invitational.

Leveau, a native of France who was playing in only her fourth college event, shot a 2-under 212. It was the fourth-lowest three-round score in the program’s history and just two shots off the school record. Her second-round 67 included six birdies and tied Petra Duran for the team’s low round of the year.

Seven Masters champs in Mitsubishi field

The addition of Vijay Singh and Mike Weir means seven Masters champions are committed to play in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf, May 14-16. Others include Bernhard Langer, who won the inaugural Mitsubishi in 2013, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sandy Lyle, Mark O’Meara and Ian Woosnam.

On Saturday, the trio of former local professional athletes Vince Carter (Hawks), Morten Andersen (Falcons) and Brian Finneran (Falcons) will compete in a nine-hole round to as part of the Debra of America Celebrity Challenge. The threesome will tee off on the 10th hole once the final group of tournament competitors finish play on the hole. The event will raise money for Debra of America, which benefits victims of epidermolysis bullosa, a group of rare diseases that causes fragile skin that leads to blisters and tearing.

Open Mondays points profits toward underserved

Two high school buddies from Atlanta have created a new line of apparel designed to change the way golfers give back to benefit the game’s underserved community.

Chris Palmer and Sterling Mack, who graduated from Lovett School, have created Open Mondays, a not-for-profit brand that donates all profits to charitable organizations who share their mission to grow the game through improved access.

“Sterling and I have been friends for a long time,” Palmer said. “One night we had a phone call and agreed we had to do something to help address the racial disparity that exists in society, especially in golf, which is a game we both love.”

When someone makes a purchase from Open Mondays, the profit is donated to a charity. For example, if a $69 shirt is purchased, $34 covers the cost of producing the shirt and operating the business and $35 is donated to charity, such as Youth on Course, which provides affordable golf for juniors.

The philanthropic pals both have a sports background. Palmer played lacrosse at Bucknell and Mack played baseball at Indiana, but both love golf and want to see it grow and expand its reach.

“Golf is a great game, and we want everyone to be able to experience it,” Palmer said. “We want our business to make a difference.”

More information is available at OpenMondaysGolf.com.

Two more teams qualify for Georgia Parks Cup

Two more teams qualified for the Georgia State Park Cup final, which will be held May 7-8 at Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course in Elberton.

The team of A.J. Pate, Colton Cox, Kason Cox and Jeff Pate shot 57 to win the qualifier at Meadow Links Golf Course at George T. Bagby Park in Fort Gaines by two shots.

The quartet of Benjamin Wolk, Kevin Bowman, Reed Dutton and James O’Brian shot 56 to claim first place at Highland Walk Golf Course at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston.

Emory, Steed win GSGA Four-Ball Tournament

Ryan Emory and Travis Steed, both from Macon, won the GSGA Four-Ball Tournament at Sea Palms Resort on the second playoff hole. They started the day two strokes behind Mike Nance and Nash Nance of Calhoun, but moved into a tie with a birdie on the 17th hole and the two teams finished tied at 6 under. Steed made the winning birdie putt. David Anderson of Peachtree Corners and Chris Trocchio of Alpharetta were third.

Stellar field for Augusta Haskins Invitational

The Georgia State men join host Augusta University and Kennesaw State in butting heads against some of the nation’s top teams in the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational, a 54-hole event that concludes Sunday at historic Forest Hills Golf Course. The field include 16 men’s teams, including No. 5 Illinois, No. 6 Arizona State and No. 7 Wake Forest, and 16 women’s teams, including No. 2 South Carolina, No. 2 Duke and No. 5 Florida State.

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