CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Hideki Matsuyama shot a 2-over-par 73 on Saturday and gave up his share of the overnight lead after the third round of the PGA Championship, but stayed in contention to claim his first major title, sitting just one shot off the pace.
Matsuyama, who started the day with a two shot lead, struggled with three bogeys against a single birdie for a 54-hole total of 6-under 207 at Quail Hollow, sitting in a tie for second place with American Chris Stroud.
Kevin Kisner of the United States remains atop the leaderboard at 7-under in the final major tournament of the season, while compatriot Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa sit in fourth, two shots behind the leader.
“I’m not satisfied at all with my performance and I’m disappointed, but at the same time I’m excited about being one shot off the lead,” said Matsuyama, who won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last week.
“I think I have a good chance (in the final round) but I’m sure there will also be tough situations like in the third round. I want to make the most of every shot,” he said.
Satoshi Kodaira is in a tie for 18th with a three-day total of 1-over 214 after shooting a 67, the best score of the third round, and Hideto Tanihara stands in a share of 64th at 7 over.
Kisner survived a calamitous finish thanks to a good bounce off a bridge that allowed him to escape with a bogey and take a one-shot lead into the final round.
Kisner had already given up a two-shot lead with a 6-iron into the water on the 16th hole for double bogey.
Then, he nearly did it again at the end of Quail Hollow’s fabled “Green Mile.” His 7-iron went left toward the creek until it landed on the concrete bridge, sailed high in the air and disappeared in the thick grass on the hill above the water. Kisner did well to chop that onto the green and two-putt from 45 feet for a 1-over 72.
Jason Day wasn’t so fortunate, most of that his own doing. Day took a big risk and paid a big price, going from behind a tree to flower bushes, into the rough and short of the green. The final result was a quadruple-bogey 8, leaving him seven shots behind.
Kisner has 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.
“I’m happy I’m in the position I’m in,” said Kisner, who was at 7-under 206. “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.”
Of the 15 players who remained under par, Oosthuizen is the only one who has won a major, and that was seven years ago. The South African had his own problems. His right arm tightened up on the front nine and he required a therapist to work on it. Then he hit a root on a shot with an 8-iron and bent the club, meaning he couldn’t use it when he needed it late in his round.
He still has a chance to add to that British Open title at St. Andrews in 2010.
“It’s the type of golf course you don’t have to go out and make birdies. You just need to keep everything together,” Oosthuizen said.