Kis­ner, Mat­suyama share lead at PGA as week­end storms loom

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Hideki Mat­suyama and Kevin Kis­ner faced the tough­est Quail Hol­low had to of­fer and share the lead in the PGA Cham­pi­onship go­ing into the week­end of the year’s fi­nal major.

Odds are Quail Hol­low won’t be the same test the rest of the way. Clouds quickly gath­ered Satur­day morn­ing about the time some two dozen play­ers were fin­ish­ing the rain-de­layed sec­ond round. Chris Stroud picked up a birdie on the par-5 seventh and com­pleted an­other 3un­der 68 to inch closer to the lead. He was two shots be­hind, along with Ja­son Day.

Scat­tered storms were ex­pected the rest of the week­end. The change in the course was im­me­di­ate af­ter heavy rain halted play for nearly two hours Fri­day. Play­ers were able to aim at flags, know­ing the putting sur­faces were soft enough that the ball wouldn’t roll too far. Day spoke about be­ing able to smash driver off the tee be­cause it was less likely for the ball to bounce through the fair­ways and into the rough.

Now, it’s a sprint to the fin­ish. Kis­ner and Mat­suyama, both lead­ing a major for the first time, were at 8-un­der 134. Day and Stroud were two shots be­hind while Louis Oosthuizen and Francesco Moli­nari of Italy were three back.

Six­teen play­ers re­mained un­der par. Jor­dan Spi­eth fig­ured he was too far back to chase the fi­nal leg of the ca­reer Grand Slam this year. He didn’t take ad­van­tage of the soft­ened con­di­tions and shot 73 to go into the week­end 11 shots be­hind.

Kis­ner had the hard­est end of the draw, when the greens Thurs­day af­ter­noon were as fast they have been all year and close to the same Fri­day morn­ing. And while Mat­suyama was in the bet­ter side of the draw, he did most of his dam­age be­fore the storms ar­rived. The 25-year-old Ja­panese star al­ready was 5 un­der for his round in tough con­di­tions, and he added two birdies af­ter the rain. He is sim­ply play­ing some of his best golf. The cut was at 5-over 147 when the sec­ond round ended, and there was some drama. Bernd Wies­berger re­turned to com­plete three holes. He was at 5 over, right on the cut line, but fac­ing the two eas­i­est holes on the front nine of Quail Hol­low. If he had fin­ished his round at 4 over - that would have re­quired one birdie and two pars - the cut would have gone to 4 over and elim­i­nated Adam Scott, Charles How­ell III and Kevin Chap­pell.

Wies­berger missed birdie chances, and then three-putted for bo­gey on the ninth hole from 50 feet. So not only did the Aus­trian fail to move the cut line, he wound up miss­ing the cut with that bo­gey on his last hole.

It was his first missed cut around the world dat­ing to last year’s PGA Cham­pi­onship. And it gave new life to Scott, who will miss the next three weeks to be with his ex­pec­tant wife. Scott is at No. 61 in the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. By the time he re­turns, he will have been elim­i­nated from the play­offs and his sea­son would be over. So the week­end at Quail Hol­low at least gave him a chance to im­prove his stand­ing. — AFP

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