After three rounds of play in the 99th PGA Championship—which is chronologically the third of the four major championships in golf—second-round co-leader Keven Kisner had a two-shot lead with three holes to play. He hooked two irons shots on the 16th and 18th holes, which are par fours, that cost him dearly. On the 16th, the ball landed in the water for a double bogie six. On the 18th hole, the ball landed on a stone bridge straddling a creek and bounced high to finish in the rough. Kisner had no shot for his third but got it to 30+ feet on the green and finish with a bogie five. That gave him a seven-under par total 206 to lead the field by one stroke.
But Kisner’s poor finish didn’t cost him because other leaders faltered in the closing holes as well. Young Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama—who won last week and is still vying for his first win in one of the four major championships–shot two-over par 73 for a six-under par total of 207 to remain in contention tied with Chris Stroud at one stroke behind Kisner.
Jason Day, #1 player in Sony Rankings last year, was in contention. But he had a really up-and-down last nine holes. Jason finished with a disastrous snowman, 8, on the par-four 18th hole. He played a very risky second shot from the right trees that didn’t hook. He looked like maybe he was never going to finish that hole. Winless since last August, perhaps partly due to his mother having cancer, Jason shot 41 on the back nine for a 77 and finished with an even-par total at 213.Jordan Spieth—the #2 player in the world who is going for an unprecedented Career Grand Slam at age 24—knocked himself out of contention with a three-over par 216. Justin Johnson, the #1 player according to Sony Rankings, did the same with 217.
If he could get the short stick to obey him, I’m picking South African Louis Oosthuizen to take home the trophy tomorrow. He’s tied for 4th at five-under par 208, two shots back of leader Kisner. As I’ve said before, I think Oosthuizen owns the best swing in golf, though it’s hard to say it’s better than Jason Day’s. However, Louis hasn’t won in a while, and his stats aren’t that good for him this year. He’s 49th in driving accuracy and 63th in GIR for fifteen PGA Tour tournaments. But Louis knows how to win a major, since he is the 2010 U.S. Open champion. Yet that surprisingly is the only PGA Tour tournament he has won.
Nevertheless, there are several of the best pros in golf who are in the hunt going into the final round tomorrow. It could be an exciting finish on a long, tough, golf course.