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The Barclays: Gary Woodland, Matt Kuchar Share Lead After 54 Holes

Gary Woodland Matt Kuchar The Barclays

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kuchar is looking for his third win of the 2013 PGA Tour season this week at The Barclays. Heading into the final round of the opener of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Kuchar is tied for the lead with Gary Woodland at 12 under par. The pair will play together in the final group for the second day in a row on Sunday.

The two men came into the playoffs in markedly different situations. Kuchar was in second place in the FedEx Cup standings and already had two victories on the year. Woodland, on the other hand, was in 60th position and wouldn’t have even been that high had it not been for a win at the Reno – Tahoe Open at the beginning of August. Now, Kuchar can claim the top spot in the standings with a victory while Woodland would move up to third should he find his way to the winner’s circle.

This is a great situation for both men, as their pairing should help ease some of the tension that is sure to be surrounding the final group tomorrow. The two are good friends and frequently spend time together outside of the ropes when they aren’t competing against one another. While the competition is sure to be fierce tomorrow, there is also a great deal of mutual respect between the two. In his post-round interview, Kuchar had only good things to say about Woodland. Knowing that his playing partner and friend was close by and able to hear what was being said, Kuchar thought it an ideal time to sing Woodland’s praises. “Man, that guy can play some golf,” he said.

Liberty National Golf Club was a difficult course to navigate on Saturday thanks to blustery conditions. Tomorrow should allow for more scoring, as the weather is expected to be more conducive to scoring. We’ll just have to wait and see if either Kuchar or Woodland can score enough to take home the title.

Carl Conrad is the Senior Golf Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.