Moving day at Quail Hollow was simply dreadful to behold.
Painful to watch.
To keep tabs on the final group of Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day, you had to give up more than five and a half hours of your life.
None of them were able to match par at the 99th PGA Championship. Matsuyama struggled but stayed alive, Day imploded at the 18th hole and Kisner lived to fight another day, fight for a major championship on Sunday.
The final pairing will give us two players who have never been in the final group in a major championship. You’ve got Kisner, winner of two PGA Tour events and Chris Stroud, winner of one and that was last week’s Barracuda championship.
Here’s how the contenders stack up:
KEVIN KISNER: Played pretty flawless golf through 15 holes until he hit his second in the water at the 16th. He nearly drowned another golf ball at the 18th but was saved by the bridge short of the green. He was 10-under through 15, eight-under through 16 then finished seven under after a pretty good bogey at 18. Can Kisner win on Sunday? Yes, but he’ll have to avoid the mistakes he made Saturday at 16 and 18. Still shot 72 and holds the lead at seven-under par.
CHRIS STROUD: Managed to shoot even par when none of the three guys in the lead group could. His 71 kept him a six-under and a shot off Kisner’s lead. Playing with Kis is a good pairing for Stroud. Neither of these guys will intimidate the other.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Just a shot off the lead. He carries the hopes and expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders. He struggled with his accuracy off the tee during the third round. Back-too-back bogeys on the back nine dropped him to six-under but still, no really bad mistakes for Hideki. He needs to draw from his performance last Sunday at Firestone and maybe he’ll capture his first major on Sunday.
JUSTIN THOMAS: J.T. was the only player among the top five contenders to shoot under par. His 69 got him to five-under and he’ll play with Matsuyama in the next-to-last group on Sunday.
LOUIE OOSTHUIZEN: Survived left forearm and wrist problems during his round to shoot even par. He’s the only one of the top five players who has won a major championship.
Grayson Murray is the only player at three-under. It would be a world-class shocker if he won on Sunday.
There are another five players at two-under but the only name with any pop is Patrick Reed and he has struggled most of the year. He’ll need to shoot at least five-under on Sunday to have a chance but Quail Hollow isn’t giving up any low scores at this point.
Saturday was a beast, a test of patience.
When you looked at the faces of the final group, they all looked dazed and confused as they walked off that last green.
Five hours and 40 minutes on this track will do that to you.