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Kevin Kisner will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the US PGA Championship after a one-over-par 72 in his third round at Quail Hollow.
Kisner wobbled on some of the closing holes but finished on seven under, a shot ahead of fellow American Chris Stroud and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama
Stroud carded a level-par 71 while Matsuyama, who started level with Kisner, slipped back with a 73.
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth finished four over and three over respectively.
Despite firing a 71, it effectively ends American Spieth’s hopes of breaking Tiger Woods’ record as the youngest career Grand Slam champion as he will begin the final round 10 shots adrift of Kisner.
Another American, Justin Thomas, made a two-under 69 to tie for fourth alongside South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen who shot 71.
Former US PGA champion Jason Day carded a quadruple bogey eight on the 18th to fall from four under to level par, eight off the lead.
England’s Paul Casey finished bogey, bogey, double bogey to drop back to level par but remains the highest placed British player.
Green Mile bites leaders
Kisner’s consistency had seen him finish as co-leader in the opening two rounds and he continued that until a bogey on the 12th ended a run of 25 holes without dropping a shot.
He recovered with birdies on 14 and 15 to stretch his lead and move to 10 under.
But on 16 – the first of Quail Hollow’s fearsome closing stretch nicknamed the ‘Green Mile – he found the water and made double bogey.
That took the world number 25 back to eight under and briefly level with Stroud before the latter bogeyed the 17th moments later and did the same on 18.
Kisner made par on 17 but on the final hole hit his second shot into a stream only for it to fortunately bounce out and into the rough.
The American could only make bogey though which saw his lead cut back to one shot.
“I didn’t make the putts I’ve been making the first two days and had just a terrible finish there,” said Kisner.
“It feels easy until you smack one in the water and then it seems hard again.”
McIlroy and Spieth fade
The build-up to this year’s event was heavily focussed on McIlroy and Spieth with the Northern Ireland player favourite at Quail Hollow – where he holds the course record – and the American bidding to beat that record held by compatriot Woods.
Neither had threatened the top of the leaderboard in the opening rounds but day three was where their challenges ended.
McIlroy said he required “two 67s” to have a “really good chance” after finishing his first 36 holes on two over, but instead hit a two-over-par 73 which included five bogeys.
“It was sort of the same as the first couple of rounds,” McIlroy said. “I have been struggling to get anything going.”
Spieth played a better level-par round which included three consecutive birdies on the back nine before being spoiled by a double bogey six on the 18th hole.
Woods was aged 24 years, seven months and 25 days when he completed the full set of majors and Spieth will be older than that when he returns for the US PGA – the only major he is yet to win – when it moves to May in 2018.
“I didn’t have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career Grand Slam as the youngest ever. That wasn’t the goal,” Spieth said.
“The PGA Championship I think is going to be the toughest for me. I think I will play this tournament worse than the other three majors just in the way that it’s set up.”
|US PGA Championship 2017|
|Venue: Quail Hollow, Charlotte Dates: 10-13 August|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, Red Button and BBC Sport website. Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates – including in-play video clips – on website and mobile app. Click for full times.|
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