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PGA: Kisner survives, others flop in wild 3rd

From ESPN - August 12, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Even after his shot bounced high off a concrete bridge over a creek, Kevin Kisner was not 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 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 am happy I am in the position I am 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 did not do it. Now I am 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 shot 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 was not 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 does not like what he sees in his rearview mirror, as 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 am disappointed the way I played today," Matsuyama said. "However, I am happy to just to be one stroke back and still have a chance."

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