Saturday’s golf: Kisner, Brown link up for Zurich lead
Avondale, La. — Kevin Kisner had another great day at TPC Louisiana, rolling in putts seemingly from everywhere. Teammate Scott Brown wasn’t having as much success, but a clutch birdie on the closing hole gave the duo a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Zurich Classic.
Kisner holed three birdie putts from 20 feet or more and teamed with Brown to shoot an 8-under 64 in better ball on Saturday. They topped a crowded leaderboard that featured 13 teams within four shots of the lead.
“It was a dogfight for us today,” Brown said. “I felt like Kevin played great. I kind of left him high and dry a couple times.”
But Brown came up big on the par-5 18th when his third shot from a greenside bunker settled within 2 feet.
Kisner and Brown started the round one shot off the lead and made five birdies on the front nine. The back nine wasn’t as smooth, with two bogeys mixed in with five more birdies, giving the team a three-day total of 20-under 196.
“We had a chance to probably run away a little bit and we just couldn’t ever get two balls in good position on the back nine,” Kisner said. “Still leading the golf tournament. Feel good. In the right position, where we need to go.”
The duo lost on the fourth hole of a playoff to Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt last year at TPC Louisiana, the first for the Zurich as a team event.
They’ll face plenty of challengers on Sunday, when the tournament returns to the more difficult alternate-shot format.
Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays shot a bogey-free 63, and Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam teamed for a 66. Both teams were one shot back.
Summerhays and Finau, both from Utah, played together last year at TPC Louisiana but missed the cut.
“I think our games are just flat-out better this year, this time around,” Summerhays said. “We’ve definitely picked up each other when the other one has kind of been on the outs.”
Several teams went low in the easier better-ball format. The teams of Brice Garnett-Chesson Hadley, Billy Horschel-Scott Piercy and Jason Dufner-Pat Perez all shot 61s to jump into contention.
Garnett and Hadley were two shots off the lead, while the Horschel-Piercy and Dufner-Perez teams were three shots back.
“You had to put it up today, because tomorrow it’s hard to shoot a low one going alternate shot,” Piercy said. “So to get within – we were just talking – hopefully within three or four of the lead, you know, 4- or 5-under is probably doable in alternate shot depending on the weather, the wind.”
Masters champion Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay shot 66 and sat six shots off the lead. Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, who shot 67 on Friday in alternate shot, could only manage a 68 in better ball and were seven shots back.
Former No. 1 Lydia Ko moved into position for her first win in nearly two years, shooting a 5-under 67 at Lake Merced for a one-shot lead over Jessica Korda at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
Ko has two previous victories at Lake Merced among her 14 wins overall, but she hasn’t won since July 2016 and has changed instructors twice since then, along with switching caddies and equipment.
The 22-year-old from New Zealand hit 14 greens in regulation to match the low round of the day in cool and breezy conditions just outside San Francisco. Her three-day total of 11-under 205 was enough to overtake Korda, who shot 71. Minjee Lee (68) was three shots back.
Ko followed up her lone bogey by holing a bunker shot for birdie on the par-4 11th. She got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-5 15th and made a 12-footer with about 3 feet of break that fell in the side of the hole on No. 16.
Adrian Otaegui of Spain moved into a share of the third-round lead with England’s Matt Wallace after shooting a 5-under 67 at the China Open.
Otaegui and Wallace, who led by one stroke after the second round, had three-round totals of 12-under 204 on the Topwin Golf and Country Club course to lead by one stroke going into Sunday’s final round.
Wallace had a 69.
Sweden’s Alexander Bjork (67), Julien Guerrier of France (68) and Jorge Campillo of Spain (68) were tied for third in the European Tour event.