Kevin Kisner (67-67-72, 206) fired a one-over-par 72 on Saturday, yet holds a one-stroke lead in the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Eleven players are within five shots of Kisner, including Chris Stroud and Hideki Matsuyama, both of whom are a shot back. Kisner’s bogey on the par-4 12th hole was his first in 25 holes and it dropped him into a first-place tie with Chris Stroud. Back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 again provided Kisner with the lead, which he held on to despite a double bogey-par-bogey finish on Quail Hollow’s legendary “Green Mile.”
With 54 holes in the books, 14 of the top 15 names on the leaderboard for the 99th PGA Championship are in search of winning their first major championship.
The lone exception is Louis Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 Open at St. Andrews.
Kevin Kisner's two most proximate threats on Sunday, Chris Stroud and Hideki Matsuyama, are coming off wins last weekend. Stroud won the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada, to secure the Championship’s final exemption, while Matsuyama took home the title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. To date, the only two players to win the PGA Championship after winning the week prior were Rory McIlroy (2014, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and Tiger Woods (2007, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).
On Saturday afternoon, Graham DeLaet posted eagles on consecutive holes: the par-4 14th and the par-5 15th holes. On No. 14, which played 301 yards today, DeLaet drove the green and made an 8-foot putt for eagle. One hole later, after reaching the green in two, DeLaet did it again on the 575-yard 15th, as a 13-foot putt capped the rare eagle-eagle sequence. DeLaet enters the final round tied for 7th place, five shots behind Kevin Kisner.
The low round on Saturday belonged to Satoshi Kodaira and J.B. Holmes, who each carded 4-under 67s. The two jumped 52 spots and into a tie for 18th place.
Since the PGA Championship’s transition to stroke play in 1958, 34 of the 59 Champions led or held a share of the lead after three rounds. Fifty-six were positioned in the top five, while only one player captured victory after starting the final round outside the top ten. Payne Stewart was tied for 11th after 54 holes in the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois.
PGA Professional Savio Nazareth of Kernersville, North Carolina, will serve as the “Playing Marker” Sunday at 8:05 a.m. for Charles Howell III. Nazareth was selected by the Carolinas PGA Section officers. Nazareth, a PGA Assistant Professional at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, competed in the PGA Professional Championship last June in Sunriver, Oregon. He was the 2016 Carolinas PGA Professional Champion and 2016 Carolinas PGA Co-Player of the Year. He competed in the Wells Fargo Championship this year and will also play next week at the Wyndham Championship.