Putnam made his only mistake with a 9-iron into a deep bunker left of the 14th green, leading to bogey.
Kuchar has won just twice in the dozen times he has held the 36-hole lead, but he feels with the way he is playing that he can add to his birdie count.
"I'm feeling a little let down right now", Putnam said after closing with a 68. I anticipate shooting another good score tomorrow.
"It was on a good line, and that was the only time it crossed my mind - 'Wow, could we make another one?' " he said. "I have to stay aggressive".
Putnam, who won for the first time a year ago in the Barracuda Championship held opposite a World Golf Championship, did his best to stay in reach.
The easygoing vibe in Hawaii is a flawless fit for Matt Kuchar, who spends as much as a month at a time on the islands when his schedule allows. He won the Match Play Championship and the Memorial in 2013.
He said getting an early win in the new season gives him added confidence.
"I loved the fight", Spieth said.
It was a hard day for 11-time PGA Tour champion Spieth, who had four bogeys and just one birdie to be tied for 127th and 12 shots off the pace. With no bogeys on his card, it even felt easy to him. What's wild that Reavie now has the most eagles on par 4s since the beginning of last season, according to the PGA Tour, and he got half of them in one round.
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Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., (72) finished 8-under, Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., (68) was 7-under, Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., (67) came in 5-under while Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., was 1-over through three rounds and didn't play the final day. And he'll be back in Maui for the 2020 Tournament of Champions, suddenly a major player again and one who looks capable of vying for his first career major in the coming months.
Kuchar had gone more than four years since his last PGA Tour victory before he won in Mexico.
He returns in two weeks at Torrey Pines.
"To win two out of three is insane to comprehend", he said. But, Kuchar closed out the front nine with two birdies in the pair's last three holes.
Matt Kuchar remains in control following his four-under-par 66 at Wai'alae Country Club in Honolulu.
Putnam, playing in the afternoon, had a bogey-free 65 and was one shot behind.
Andrew Putnam hits from the first tee during the final round of the Sony Open PGA Tour golf event, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
Matt Kuchar hits from the 10th fairway during the second round of the Sony Open on Friday.