Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

Weather suspends third round of PGA Championship

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Thunderstorms shut down the PGA Championship on Saturday before 10 players even hit a shot, setting up what could be a long, wet and wild conclusion to the final major — whenever it ends.

Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb made it to the practice range before storms dumped more rain on an already saturated course at Baltusrol. Tied for the lead at 9-under par, they faced a 36-hole Sunday, provided the course could be ready by 7 a.m.

Otherwise, a Monday finish loomed, and that was only part of the unpredictable nature of the tournament.

Kevin Kisner had seven birdies in his round of 5-under 65 and was at 5-under 205. He was one shot ahead of Padraig Harrington (65). They were among only 37 players of the 86 who made the cut to complete the third round.

The plan was for the third-round pairings to go right back out this morning, meaning they would finish before the last group began the fourth round.

"That will be an interesting dynamic, for sure," said Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America's managing director of championships.

It was the third time in five years that weather messed with the PGA Championship. The final round was played in threesomes off both tees at Kiawah Island in 2012, and Valhalla was a quagmire in 2014, though the last two rounds were played in twosomes and barely finished. Rory McIlroy won both of them.

Russell Knox tapped in for a par and a 67 to reach 3-under 207, and then heard the horn as Marc Leishman was getting ready for his 12-foot birdie attempt. Leishman has to return at 7 a.m. for that putt, and then wait two hours to start his final round.

Knox took a playful dig on Twitter in which he told Leishman that he had "grub, showered and feet up now."

Baltusrol already had about 3 inches of rain this week, and Haigh didn't have a report on Saturday's damage because it was still raining. There is no defense for soft greens, however, and it showed.

Friday, Streb posted the 30th round of 63 in a major. Kisner and Harrington took aim Saturday before the rain, each with 65s. Harrington didn't even think he played that well and still had his best score in a PGA Championship.

"Hit the right shots at the right time and any of the shots that I didn't hit well didn't do me any harm," Harrington said. "It's nice when you score better than you play. It was just an average day, as I said. Thursday was the day I played well. It was amazing, the best I played Thursday, is the worst score I shot. That's the nature of the game."

Phil Mickelson shot 68 and was at 1-under 209. He predicted far lower scores to come.

"There is a low 60s round," Mickelson said. "I think somebody is going to break that 63 record in these next two days. The greens are pristine. You can make a lot of putts. They are soft, so you can get the ball very close. I think that there's that 61 or 62 out there that I was probably trying to chase a little too hard."

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