Friday, September 21, 2018

Kisner a putt away from week's second sub-60 round at Sony Open

HONOLULU — Kevin Kisner came within a fraction of an inch of another 59 at the Sony Open.

Needing eagle on the par-5 ninth hole Saturday, Kisner hit an 8-iron to 9 feet below the hole for his chance at the ninth sub-60 round in PGA history and the second this week at Waialae Country Club. Third-round leader Justin Thomas shot 59 in the opening round with eagle on the ninth hole.

The putt stayed to the right and burned the edge of the cup, and Kisner had to settle for 60.

It was the best round of his career — but only the second-best round this week.

"Can't be that upset," Kisner said.

The last time there was a 59 and 60 in the same tournament was the 2010 John Deere Classic by Paul Goydos (59) and Steve Stricker — both in the first round.

Kisner, 32, went from making the cut on the number to a tie for sixth, though hardly in contention. The former Georgia player was nine shots out of the lead at 197.

Thomas made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for 5-under 65 to tie the 54-hole PGA record score at 22-under 188, equaling Stricker at the 2010 John Deere.

Zach Johnson shot 65 to keep pace, though he remained seven shots behind at 195. No one has ever lost a PGA event with a seven-shot lead, and Thomas, a 23-year-old former Alabama standout, hopes to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to win both Hawaii events on the tour.

Thomas led by at least four shots the entire round. He made his first birdie with a two-putt on the par-5 ninth, drove into a greenside bunker on the par-4 10th and got another birdie and he was on his way.

Thomas got into the record book with an eagle on his final hole in each of the previous two rounds at Waialae — 59 on Thursday for the eighth sub-60 round in tour history, and the 36-hole scoring record Friday.

Justin Rose (66) and Gary Woodland (68) were eight shots behind.

EUROPE: Graeme Storm takes a three-shot lead into today's final round of the SA Open as he bids for his first European Tour title in 10 years. The Englishman turned in a third-round 67, the same as Rory McIlroy, who moved into second in Johannesburg. Storm, 38, had five birdies and extended his bogey-free run to 41 holes to leave him at 17-under 199. McIlroy twice caught Storm at the top of the leaderboard with the help of a eagle on the par-4 seventh and a hat trick of birdies on the back nine. But McIlroy (202 overall), who almost pulled out of the tournament on Friday with a back complaint, bogeyed the 18th. "The back was a little tender this morning — I didn't really get much sleep last night," McIlroy said. Jordan Smith (68) bogeyed the final two holes to leave him four shots back along with Jbe Kruger (69) at 203 overall.

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