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All eyes will be on Kevin Kisner Sunday when he begins his final round at the 2017 PGA Championship. The 33-year-old from South Carolina is clinging on to a one-stroke lead in his bid for his first career major and will look to hold off the rest of the field over the final 18 holes at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kisner, the No. 25-ranked golfer in the world, per OWGR.com, didn’t have the best performances over the past month or so, but he’s come on strong at the PGA Championship. After shooting a pair of 67s on the first two days of the tournament, his performance dropped off to a one-over 72 on Saturday, but it was enough for him to hang on to the lead.
It’s make or break on Sunday for Kisner, who has only finished in the top 10 in a major once in his career (sixth, at the Open Championship in 2016). He’ll have to fend off a bevy of challengers, including an incredibly unlikely one, but that’s the game.
You can track his progress below in the fourth and final round.
While Kisner is atop the leaderboard, he knows he could have done more to solidify his standing on moving day.
“I’m happy I’m in the position I’m in,” Kisner said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “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.”
A double bogey on No. 16 and a bogey kept him from pulling away from the likes of Chris Stroud and Hideki Matsuyama, who sit just one back of Kisner entering Sunday.
Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
While Stroud is putting on quite a show, Matsuyama is the better-known player and will certainly be one to watch as he chases his maiden major victory. The 25-year-old finished second at the U.S. Open in June and won the WGC-Bridgestone in brilliant, record fashion on August 3. He’s tops in the FedEx Cup standings and is poised for greatness.
After a blistering seven-under 64 on Day 2, which put him into a tie with Kisner for the field, Matsuyama fell off on Day 3 and posted a two-over 73. He’s finished in at least the top six in every major but has yet to break through.
His form on the Tour this year and his play so far in this tournament suggest he might finally climb the mountaintop. At the very least, Jordan Spieth is tipping him to win, and he knows a thing or two about winning majors.
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Though Matsuyama would be the exciting young challenger to take over Kisner, it could be a steady veteran hand that pulls off the win.
Louis Oosthuizen is lurking at five-under for the tournament, just two strokes back of the lead. As the only golfer with a major win on his resume near the top of the leaderboard, he might be the guy to hold it together on a nervy final day and make it two for his career.
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Of course, nothing would be more miraculous than Stroud (-6) winning the PGA Championship. Ranked at No. 203 in the world, Stroud is only in the tournament thanks to his first-ever PGA Tour win, which came at the Barracuda Championship on August 3, at the ripe age of 35.
After a career of struggling and never quite coming through, it was only when Stroud stopped pushing, stopped pressing, that his game finally started to come through for him, per GolfDigest.com’s Dave Kindred:
“Then, early this year, he quit trying. Nothing else worked. He tried all the ways. So he tried a new way. He didn’t try at all. And he liked the way not trying felt. Lighter, more fun. The stars could burn with their famous fire and fury. Chris Stroud had been there. He let go of all that: ‘I literally said, ‘You know what? I’m done.’ I’m just going to do the best I can and have as much fun as I can. All of a sudden, it falls in my lap.’
“God has such a sense of humor. Once Chris Stroud gave up, he won. And now, Sunday, in the biggest tournament of his life, he can win again.”
Jason Day, while essentially out of the running, is another player to keep an eye on Sunday. Once in the group atop the leaderboard, Day stumbled in the third round, shooting a six-over 77. The 18th hole was particularly horrendous, as poor shot selection led him a disastrous quadruple bogey, all but knocking him out of contention in the final round.
Here’s his questionable second shot, per PGA of America:
PGA of America @PGA
Jason Day is in trouble on 18… 😳 See what happens next on https://t.co/qShAOCgvKl: https://t.co/mT5mpu9yEU https://t.co/o0VzCtnGlr
The PGA Championship certainly looked like the tournament to turn things around for Day, who has just two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this calendar year and had missed the cut twice in two tournaments in June. However, the third round was supremely unkind to him.
Fans of his will be hoping the former world No. 1 will show he can put the day’s events behind him and surge up to a better finish, one that will propel him to better results in the future.