Matt Kuchar wants a green jacket like Larry Mize's

Georgia Tech product still learning Augusta National's greens

 

It’s been a quarter-century since a Georgia Tech golfer won a green jacket.

Matt Kuchar is hoping to become the first Yellow Jacket to win the Masters Tournament since 1987, when Larry Mize knocked off Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman in a sudden-death playoff.

“That’d be pretty cool,” Kuchar said. “I’ve had some OK finishes. I’ve had some decent runs. I’m really excited to be getting back there. That’s a place everyone looks forward to going to.”

Kuchar has been one of the top players on the PGA Tour the past two years, banking more than $9 million. He won the money list in 2010 and followed it up with another solid effort in 2011, collecting another $4.2 million. In those two years, he’s won one tournament and posted 19 other top-20 finishes.

“Had a great year in 2010,” Kuchar said. “It was nice to follow it up with another solid year in 2011. I’m hoping I can continue it.”

The 33-year-old Kuchar first found fame in 1998 at the Masters when he finished as low amateur, tying for 21st place. Though it seems Kuchar’s played Augusta National Golf Club for a long time, he is still learning the course.

Kuchar played in the Masters in 1999 and 2002 before missing the next seven years. After his return in 2010, he’s gotten into a rhythm with a pair of top-30 finishes.

“I just try to get better every year,” Kuchar said. “I try to jot some notes down every year. I try to be a little more prepared, I guess.”

Kuchar had an up-and-down 2011 Masters. After opening with 68, he followed by finding Rae’s Creek in front of No. 12 in the second round en route to 75. Kuchar rebounded with 69 in the third round only to add a closing 75 for a tie for 27th.

Kuchar, who moved to Sea Island, Ga., in the fall of 2010, said his preparation for Augusta National includes studying the greens as much as he can.

“I always try to seem to learn a little bit more,” Kuchar said. “A break fools you. Hopefully, you take a good note and can remember it for an upcoming year.”

Kuchar is looking to build off his major championship play the past two seasons, when he’s posted four top-20 finishes and three other top-30 showings. Now in his sixth appearance in the Masters, Kuchar is looking to finally break through.

“There’s so much history there,” he said. “It’d be a fun place to really make your own history.”

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