Thu Apr 07 05:02pm EDT
Matt Kuchar wasn't a darkhorse pick, but if you had asked your buddy prior to Thursday's first round who their favorite was for the Masters, you most likely would have received one of three names: Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods or Lee Westwood.
Kuchar doesn't have the starpower or name recognition of some of the game's top players, but he does have something almost every guy would love to have, and that's one of the most consistent golf games around. He kept the consistency rolling on Thursday at the Masters with a 4-under 68 -- his lowest score since the third round of his first visit as an amateur in 1998 -- that put him in contention after one round.
[Related: Complete Masters leaderboard]
A lot has changed in Kuchar's game since he first came to Augusta as a fresh-faced 21-year-old amateur from Georgia Tech. After struggling for years as a pro, Kuchar suddenly found his game in 2009, after winning his second PGA Tour event.
Since then he's been the most consistent player in golf, posting an astonishing 17 top-10 finishes in 34 events. Think about that stat for a second and how difficult it is to contend on a weekly basis. While consistency will only get you so far in golf, it's clear Kuchar is the kind of guy that never gets too high or too low, which makes him a perfect major champion prototype.
After posting a T25 at last year's Masters, it seems like this could finally be Kuchar's time to live up to all that early career hype and make the most of his current run of good form. His low ball flight and all-around consistent game make him a great pick this week (Bacon likes him) at a course that brings back a lot of great memories.
Who knows, maybe Kuchar can make some new memories of his own this year by getting into the mix on Sunday afternoon and possibly taking home the green jacket. He's got the game to make it happen.