Day 3 is now in the books, and it was... interesting. The sub-air system was in full effect (h/t to 05movingalum) so the greens were firm like Day 1 and before-the-rain Day 2. The rough has grown thick and lustrous, but the fairways are still a bit soft and forgiving. But the pin placements. Ladies and gentlemen, I implore you, there is really no need to put pins on plateaus the size of playing cards. It was like trying to putt to a hole placed on top of Erk Russell’s head - just ain’t gonna happen.
The average score was actually the lowest of the 3 days so far. But the lowest score was only 67 (some 64’s and 65’s Saturday) and the highest score was only 80 (plenty of 80+ scores the first two days). Jason Day had 3 birdies in a row on the back nine... and shot 41 (6 over par). Graham DeLaet was 6 under par for a stretch of 4 holes... and only shot 68. Quail Hollow giveth, and Quail Hollow will for damn sure taketh away.
Net net: Kevin Kisner has a 1 stroke lead going into the final round at 7 under par. He shot 72, and only because he was +3 over his last 3 holes. Otherwise it was a masterful display of playing your own game and taking what the course will give you. Two players are tied 1 stroke back, and 2 more another stroke back from that.
Russell Henley shot 77 and fell back to 72nd place. Brian Harman gouged out an even par 71 and is 2 over par, tied for 26th.
Can Kisner win? Sleeping with the lead for 2 nights in a row and actually improving his position has got to be a comforting factor. That his folks are from Charlotte and he only lives a couple hours down the road in Aiken should make it easier. The fact that only 1 player within 6 strokes of Kisner has won a major before means that everyone is basically sharing the nerves. But this is a new breed of golf. If the powers that be at Quail Hollow decide to put the pins in easy spots, and decide to slow the greens down, and essentially turn the last day into a wide open shootout... I’m not sure I like his chances.
But if it remains a very tough test; if the greens remain firm, grainy, and slicker than Hugh Freeze at Wednesday night Prayer Meeting; if the rough remains gnarly; then the ice than runs in Kevin Kisner’s veins will serve him well. He won’t beat himself - he’s proven that in playoffs, when vying for the lead, and when presented with opportunities. Let’s hope the conditions are what Kevin wants when he tees it up Sunday afternoon.
Coverage is again from 11-2pm on TNT and 2pm until conclusion on CBS.
And as always,
Go Kiz, and GO ‘DAWGS!!!