Kuchar will aim for his second championship in about two months after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November in Mexico.
Both courses require keeping the ball in play, and Kuchar has done that well over three rounds.
The 25-year-old, whose best finish last season was a tie for 39th, was trailing clubhouse-leader Andrew Putnam but leapfrogged him after four consecutive birdies on the back nine and one final one on the par-five 18th hole. Chez Reavie (65) and Stewart Cink (62) were four behind. Needing to birdie the last four holes to qualify for the weekend, Spieth ran off two birdies, missed a 10-foot birdie putt and then narrowly missed chipping in for eagle.
The easygoing vibe in Hawaii is a ideal fit for Matt Kuchar, who spends as much as a month at a time on the islands when his schedule allows. In his 2019 debut, Spieth had a 66 and missed the cut by one shot.
First picture of Jayme Closs after 88-day kidnap ordeal
Jayme's grandfather Robert Naiberg said in a telephone interview on Saturday that no one in the family knew Patterson. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says Patterson's goal was to kidnap Jayme but that the family didn't know him.
"It was a really good day", said Kuchar, who has won eight times on the PGA Tour.
Putnam carded three birdies through the first five holes to have a one-shot lead.
Matt Kuchar made it look easy Saturday in the Sony Open.
Under the circumstances, he might have had reason to be slightly disappointed with a five-under-par 65, which included a double-bogey, but was not complaining. Reavie made more eagles - three - than birdies, of which he had only one. That's the way I like to play, staying out of trouble. (68) and Marc Leishman (68) are also in the bunch at 11-under. Love is not playing next week on the Big Island because he is playing the Singapore Open.
Putnam stayed within striking distance without playing his best.
The 40-year-old Kuchar was 3-under on the front side and regained the solo top spot.