NORTON, Mass. – With an orange ribbon on his hat and nine birdies on his card, Matt Kuchar pulled within a shot of the lead Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Not that he needed a reminder, but a message posted on the scoring table spoke to the emotions involved in this tournament.
Players were offered a chance to donate to a trust fund for the 4-year-old daughter of Lance Bennett, his caddie. Bennett’s wife, Angela, died of a seizure Wednesday. Kuchar decided to play to raise awareness and get the tour involved in helping the family.
His performance certainly helped.
Ryan Palmer overcame a rocky start for an even-par 71. Jason Day struggled at the end for a 68. They were tied for the lead on the TPC Boston going into the third round of a FedEx Cup playoff event that ends on Labor Day.
Kuchar was a shot behind after a 66 that featured six consecutive birdies around the turn.
You never know how things will work out in the game of golf, Kuchar said. But it felt like there’s some fate working, as well. The funeral is coming up and some things that will be difficult. But right now, I feel like there’s some inspiration and some fate working.
On his bag is Brian Reed, a longtime friend who introduced Kuchar to Bennett several years ago.
Palmer, who started with a 63, made birdie on his first hole and thought he was off to the races. He followed with a double bogey, a bogey and then tried to hang. A birdie on the final hole put him at 8-under 134.
Day looked as though he might pull away. He ran off five birdies on the front nine for a 31 to build a two-shot lead, only to drop four shots coming in.
Fever wins opener of East finals
In Indianapolis, Briann January scored 19 points and Shavonte Zellous added 18 to help the Indiana Fever beat the Chicago Sky 77-70 in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals. Sylvia Fowles led Chicago with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Elena Delle Donna and Quigley added 14 apiece. Game 2 will be in Chicago on Monday.
Tway shoots 63 at Champions event
In Calgary, Alberta, Bob Tway shot a 7-under 63 for a share of the second-round lead with Joe Durant and Joe Daley in the Champions Tour’s Shaw Charity Classic. Durant and Daley shot 68 to match Tway at 10-under 130 at Canyon Meadows.
Pettersen fires 67 to share LPGA lead
In Portland, Oregon, defending champion Suzann Pettersen shot her second straight 5-under 67 for a share of the third-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Portland Classic. Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and South Korea’s Mi Jung Hur shot 70 to match Pettersen at 11-under 205.
South African leads Italian Open by 2
In Turin, Italy, Hennie Otto of South Africa shot a 1-under 71 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Italian Open.
Saint Francis men win opener in OT
A late second-half equalizing goal from Jason Walcutt sent the Saint Francis men’s team into overtime in the Cougars’ season opener against John Brown (Arkansas) (0-2) at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium. The Cougars (1-0) won 2-1 in the second overtime period with a goal from Mitchell Holloway.
IPFW wins tourney; Mastodon is MVP
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, IPFW’s Emily Spencer was named the 2014 Bronco Classic MVP after the Mastodons (3-0) defeated Oakland 3-1 (16-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-20) and host Western Michigan 3-2 (25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13) to win the tournament. Spencer had a team-high 17 kills and had 10 digs against Oakland and 26 kills and 13 digs against Western Michigan. Teammates Kendall Wienkes and Sarah Heckman were also named to the all-tournament team.