Kisner survives wild finish to lead PGA


By Doug Ferguson - AP Golf Writer



Kevin Kisner watches his tee shot on the third hole during Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Even after his shot bounced high off a concrete bridge over a creek, Kevin Kisner wasn’t in the clear at the PGA Championship.

His golf ball was buried in thick grass on a hill above the water. As he looked across to the 18th green at Quail Hollow, wondering how he could even keep it on the green, a leaderboard reminded him of how many players were suddenly in the mix at the final major of the year.

Kisner managed to keep the damage to a minimum in a calamity-filled final hour Saturday.

More importantly, he managed to keep the lead.

Two holes after hitting into the water on No. 16 to lose a two-shot lead, Kisner chopped out of the cabbage-like lie to the other side of the 18th green, then navigated a super slick 45-foot putt to close range to escape with bogey and a 1-over 72, giving him a one-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama and Chris Stroud.

“I’m happy I’m in the position I’m in,” Kisner said. “I had a chance to run away from guys and take people out of the tournament that were four or five, six back. And I didn’t do it. Now I’m in a dogfight tomorrow, and I have to be prepared for that.”

If the closing stretch taught him something, it was to prepare for anything.

Jason Day can attest to that. He wasted a remarkable rally with a peculiar decision to hit a shot from behind a tree. His feet slipped on the pine straw and the ball wound up in a waist-high flower bed. What followed was a penalty drop, a shot to the rough, another short of the green and a quadruple-bogey 8 that most likely ended his chances. He shot 77 and was in no mood to discuss the round.

Stroud three-putted the last two holes for bogey, one from off the 17th green. He managed a 71 and was in the final group Sunday, not bad for a guy who wasn’t even eligible for the PGA Championship until he won his first PGA Tour event six days ago.

“It’s just a dream come true to be here,” he said.

Kisner had the lead going into the final round, a great spot to pursue his first major championship. He just doesn’t like what he sees in his rearview mirror, where the players are a lot closer than they once appeared.

Matsuyama made only one birdie and wasted two good scoring chances on the back nine. He had a dull finish, which on this day allowed him to make up ground. With five straight pars at the end, he had a 73 and was one shot behind in his bid to deliver Japan its first major.

“I’m disappointed the way I played today,” Matsuyama said. “However, I’m happy to just to be one stroke back and still have a chance.”

Justin Thomas, the son of a PGA professional, had the right formula. He didn’t drop a shot over the last 12 shots and shot a 69 to finish just two shots behind along with Louis Oosthuizen, who saved par on the 18th with a bold shot for a 71.

Women’s amateur

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Sophia Schubert and Albane Valenzuela advanced to the finals of the 117th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on Saturday and hope to end long droughts in today’s 36-hole final at the San Diego Country Club.

Schubert, 21, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, defeated 13-year-old Chia Yen Wu of Chinese Taipei, 2-up. Schubert, who will be a senior at Texas, would be the first Longhorn since 1996 to claim the title and would break a nine-year streak of champions under the age of 20.

Valenzuela, 19, who just finished her freshman year at Stanford, defeated Lilia Kha-Tu Vu, 19, of Fountain Valley, California, 3 and 2. Valenzuela would be the first player from Switzerland to win a USGA championship and the first Cardinal golfer to win the women’s title since 1983.

Kevin Kisner watches his tee shot on the third hole during Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/08/web1_08.13.17.kisner-1.jpgKevin Kisner watches his tee shot on the third hole during Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.

By Doug Ferguson

AP Golf Writer