Keith Mitchell fired a seven-under 63 and is tied for third with Chez Reavie (66) on 196. It's not often you're in full control.
Kuchar had a 54-hole score of 193 in Mexico, the lowest of his career. Swafford got off to a slow start but heated up with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch to entertain thoughts of potentially chasing down Kuchar and Putnam.
Kuchar ended a almost five-year drought when he won the Mayakoba Classic in November, his eighth PGA Tour win, and he said it was a good recent experience to have in the memory bank.
Putnam, who played college golf at Pepperdine and claimed his first PGA Tour victory past year in the Barracuda Championship, capped his 67 with an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole. "It is the golf I like to play to stay out of trouble", he said.
So odd was this round that Reavie made more eagles than birdies, and the one shot that made him think the ball might go in the hole led to a par.
"Certainly previous year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is insane to comprehend", Kuchar said.
Clearly, the 40-year-old is in a better spot than when he had gone more than three years without winning and was left off the Ryder Cup team for the first time in 10 years.
"I loved the fight", Spieth said. It hopped into the back bunker, and he missed an 8-foot par putt to lose the lead. Instead, it turned into the American's first top-10 finish since the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his best result since winning the Desert Classic nearly exactly two years ago. You don't get many chances like that and it was nice to be there and been able to finish it off. ... There are a lot of good players out there.
Bryson DeChambeau produced arguably the round of the day, matching his career-low 63 to sit tied among a nine-strong pack in fifth place on 11 under. He didn't make any, but he didn't leave himself any work for par.
Kuchar used a hot putter to roll in four birdies and missed just two greens in regulation on the Waialae Country Club course in Hawaii to move to 18-under 192 overall.
Putnam's birdie at the third and a series of solid pars proved enough to take him into the lead, which he maintained at the turn when he matched Kuchar's birdie at the long ninth.
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