Kuchar improves to No. 40 in world rankings

During his last five events, Kuchar has a victory, a runner-up finish and a third place. In his previous 83 events, he had finished as high as third only once. Kuchar has improved to No. 40 in the World Golf Rankings and is No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings.

“I feel like I can play well every week,” said Kuchar, who plays locally at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta. “I feel like when I start the week, I’m going to have a chance. I’m really looking forward to a great year.”

Kuchar’s only real regret was leaving a 90-foot lag putt short on the final hole. That led to a par. Haas later birdied the hole for his first Tour victory.

Former University of Georgia player Bubba Watson, who held the lead entering the final round, closed with a 66 and tied for second with Kuchar and Tim Clark.

“It was a great week,” Watson said. “Bill just played a little bit better.”

The victory puts Haas in the Masters, a tournament his uncle, Bob Goalby, won in 1968. He joins his dad, Jay Haas, as the eighth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour.

Nationwide goes Kiwi

The Nationwide Tour kicks off its season this week in New Zealand with what could be a chapter meeting of the Georgia Bulldog Alumni Golfer’s Club. There are three ex-Bulldogs in the field for the Michael Hill New Zealand Open in Queenstown: Chris Kirk, Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner. Georgians Scott Dunlap and Luke List also made the long trip. They’ll stay down under for another week and compete in the Moonah Classic in Australia.

On the Georgia amateur scene

The trio of women who won the 2009 the U.S. Women's Team Championship for Georgia was given the Tommy Barnes Award, the highest honor awarded each year by the Georgia State Golf Association. Laura Coble of Augusta, Dori Carter of Valdosta and Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale received the award at the GSGA's annual awards banquet at the Cherokee Town and Country Club.

Player of the year awards went to Coble (women), Stackhouse (junior girls), Brenda Pictor of Marietta (senior women), David Noll Jr. of Dalton (men), Ollie Schniederjans of Powder Springs (junior boys) and Jimmy Thomas of Johns Creek (senior men). Former GSGA president Wendell Couch of Greensboro was presented the Bill Todd Award, given annually to a volunteer who maintains high standards of service and stewardship.

Etc.

Former LPGA Tour member Angela Jerman has joined Canongate Golf Clubs as membership director for Healy Point Country Club in Macon and the Club at River Forest in Forsyth. Jerman, a four-time All-SEC player at Georgia, played eight seasons on the LPGA Tour. ... Dean Alexander is the new PGA Professional at Atlanta National Golf Club in Alpharetta. Alexander is a master professional who has previous experience at the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Country Club of the South in Johns Creek and Augusta Country Club. ... Augusta native Jim Thorpe was sentenced to a year in prison for failure to pay more than $2 million in income taxes. He must also complete 200 hours of community service and try to repay the taxes while on supervised release.

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