Kuchar planning long stay in Aloha State

KAPALUA – Matt Kuchar enjoys Hawaii so much that he will spend the first six weeks of 2014 in the 50th state.

“Play here, play Sony and then hang on the Big Island for a month, four weeks,” Kuchar said after carding his second straight 5-under-par 68 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course on Saturday. “We love it here.”

After playing in next week’s Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Kuchar will spend his time near Kona at the Kukio Resort.

“We went for a week last year and we had such a good time,” he said. “I have played a lot in October, November, December so I was looking for a minibreak and just said, ‘Well, we’re over in Hawaii, let’s just stay there and enjoy ourselves.’ “

Kuchar, who ended the day tied for second, three strokes behind Zach Johnson, had seven birdies and two bogeys in the second round.

“Steady, solid, made a couple bogeys I wasn’t real happy about, but for the most part, some good golf, and two back-to-back days of 5-under par is some steady, solid golf,” the world’s seventh-ranked player said. “Feeling pretty happy with the way my game is in form.”

Kuchar said his Aloha State sojourn is needed.

“I didn’t really take much of a break,” he said. “I played from the McGladrey tournament, Sea Island, played two events in Australia, played (the World Challenge), played Shark Shootout and had 10 days off and never really put the clubs away like I normally do.”

Kuchar will be in the next-to-last pairing today with Jordan Spieth, just in front of defending champion Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson.

“Looks like I’m not too far off the lead, so that’s a good thing – 36 holes (left), there’s a lot of guys still in this.”

Kuchar is playing Kapalua for the fourth time – he placed third in 2010.

“This one requires I think a little more course knowledge with the amount of undulations in the greens, particularly,” he said. “Next week is more or less like a Florida course, flat, Bermuda golf course, a little more standard. This one, we don’t see many like this.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com