But this day ultimately belonged to Kuchar, who won for the ninth time in his career.
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Sony Open. He joins Xander Schauffle in the two-win club for this season and now has almost eight months to notch the first three-win season of his long, consistent and successful career.
It wasn't as easy as his four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam might indicate. Chez Reavie (65) and Stewart Cink (62) were four behind.
It was a short week for Spieth after a long break.
Former major championship winners Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson missed the cut by one stroke on Friday.
He missed a critical 12-footer for par on the 14th hole and couldn't convert back-to-back 20-foot birdie efforts on 15 and 16 as victor Matt Kuchar pulled away.
"I tell people that nerves in golf are kind of like public speaking", Kuchar said.
"The eagle felt great". He maintained his lead through the back nine as Putnam began to trail by more with a bogey on the par-4 16th.
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"Three-putting the second was frustrating".
The finish was better than he could have imagined. After trading birdies, they were tied with five holes to play.
Kuchar is 2-2 when he has the 54-hole lead going into the final round. He finished strong with two more birdies in his final three holes to remain in contention as he carded a 4-under 66. "The more often you do it, the better you deal with it".
"I found some good stuff between seasons ... and then things really heated up in Mexico", he said. "It's always a surprise when it disappears".
Having made only one bogey through 54 holes to build a two-shot lead, Kuchar had three bogeys in his opening five holes Sunday and fell one shot behind Putnam. "I just couldn't keep up with him".
That would be a good idea, except Hawaii doesn't have a lottery. Teryn Schaefer presents the best social media posts from around the world of golf in "Good, Bad & Unusual" and after each day's play brings you the biggest talking points in "The Takeaway". He likes it better when he can play a few tournaments.
The next challenge is winning, and it helps to have gone through the experience last November.
He ended the 2018 season earlier than he wanted, failing to reach the Tour Championship for the first time since 2009 and ending his streak of playing on eight straight teams in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.