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With heavy heart, Kuchar hovers around the lead at Deutsche Bank

NORTON, Massachusetts -- Jason Day thought he might be able to pull away from the field Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Nine holes later, the second FedEx Cup playoff event was wide open.

The Australian made three bogeys in swirling wind on the back nine at the TPC Boston, including the final hole. That gave him a 3-under 68 and a share of the lead with Ryan Palmer, who had a 71.

After two rounds, 16 players were separated by four shots.

Matt Kuchar made six straight birdies around the turn and shot 66. He was one shot behind in what is shaping up as an emotional week. The wife of his caddie, Lance Bennett, died of a seizure Wednesday.

Players were offered a chance to donate to a trust fund for the 4-year-old daughter of Bennett. Kuchar decided to play to raise awareness and get the tour involved in helping the family.

His performance certainly helped.

“You never know how things will work out in the game of golf,” Kuchar said. “But it felt like there's some fate working, as well. The funeral is coming up and some things that will be difficult. But right now, I feel like there's some inspiration and some fate working.”

On his bag is Brian Reed, a longtime friend who introduced Kuchar to Bennett several years ago.

Kuchar was overcome by emotion Friday when he saw caddies — and even some players — wearing a black hat with the orange ribbon in honor of Bennett's wife. There were times he had a hard time taking the club back.

Saturday was easier, which he attributes to the natural progression of grief.

“Still felt like Angela was on my mind almost every hole, every shot,” Kuchar said.

The next few days might not be easy for anyone. The TPC Boston has a history of yielding low scores. Henrik Stenson won a year ago at 22-under 262, and the worst winning score since it became a FedEx Cup playoff event was 15-under 269.

That seems far off given these conditions — swirling wind and fast greens that get bumpier in the afternoon.

Palmer, who started with a 63, made birdie on his first hole and thought he was off to the races. He followed with a double bogey, a bogey and then tried to hang. A birdie on the final hole put him at 8-under 134.

“It could have gone the other way real quick,” Palmer said. “I was glad to get that last birdie on 18 and salvage even (par).”

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Matt Kuchar tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Massachusetts, Saturday, Aug. 30. (AP)

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