He led by two going into the final round, three bogeys in his first five holes saw the usually steady Kuchar, who had just one bogey in the first three rounds, surrender the lead to Putnam.
Kuchar, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, took home the $1.152 million winner's check with his ninth career PGA Tour victory and is the second multiple-time victor on Tour this season. He rolled in a 12-footer to move two shots ahead of Putnam, eliciting a rare fist pump from the normally placid Kuchar, and added another on the very next hole to give himself plenty of breathing room.
Matt Jones improved with his round of 67 to be in 27th place and shares that place with the only other Australian to make the weekend Cameron Smith who dropped 15 places with his round of 69.
Better yet? Davis Love III, who still owns the best rainbow-moment from the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, was there to greet him. "I'm sure when I think about it. a lot of good things have happened".
But this day ultimately belonged to Kuchar, who won for the ninth time in his career.
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"I loved the fight", Spieth said.
Even so, the performance was big for Conner, who narrowly missed a full PGA Tour card a year ago.
Svensson carded a nine-under-par 61 - highlighted by seven birdies and one eagle - to top the leaderboard at Wai'alae Country Club in Honolulu on Thursday.
Keith Mitchell had a 63 and was four shots behind, along with Chez Reavie (66). Along with his runner-up finish in the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall, he has almost as many FedEx Cup points as past year when he finished at No. 130.
South African native Rory Sabbatini played his first event under the Slovakian flag, and shot a second round 67 to move to five-under overall, nine shots adrift of Kuchar. Obviously previous year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is insane to comprehend. 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. He has been to five of the islands, and plans to stay another few weeks after the Sony Open.
"I feel like my game has turned into a game that can play well at any given course", Kuchar said. (68) and Marc Leishman (68) are also in the bunch at 11-under.