Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Matsuyama knocks on the major door

Rory Mc Ilroy reacts as his birdie putt on the seventh green rolls towards the cup Rory Mc Ilroy reacts as his birdie putt on the seventh green rolls towards the cup
Lucia Summers | 14 August, 2017, 01:25

Rory McIlroy, 10 shots back overnight, also went backwards in another disappointing display in the majors this season, carding a two-over 73 for four-over, the same mark as world number one Dustin Johnson. Italy's Francesco Molinari and South Africa's Louis Oosthiuzen are tied for fourth place three strokes back back of the co-leaders at five under through two days of action.

The leading duo were hotly pursued by Jason Day, who finished two shots behind the pair before the hooter sounded and play was suspended for the day due to the fading light.

In the back-nine, he corrected his mistakes and played flawlessly.

He did pose over the 7-iron that covered the flag tucked behind a bunker on the par-3 17th, leaving him a seven-foot putt for his final birdie.

But sandwiched in-between them all is Chris Stroud, a 35-year-old journeyman with a real shot of stealing the major away from all of them.

An adventurous back nine by 2015 PGA victor Jason Day serves as one example of the toll Quail Hollow is taking. 17 and 18 and is tied for second at 6 under.

But just when he appeared to have let his chance slip, Day surged again, making three consecutive birdies from the 14th, where he had to shed his shoe and sock to play from the hazard, to the 16th, his two peerless shots to the par-five 15th being a good sign.

Thomas finished round three with four birdies and two bogeys.

Nick Faldo has slammed former world number one Jason Day for throwing away his chances of winning a second US PGA title with "one insane decision".

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He didn't make a bogey after the sixth hole and saved his momentum several times from poor positions off the tee.

The Australian started the 18th hole four shots off the lead but hit his first short close behind a tree. Stuck behind a tree off the tee, he tried to hook the ball around it, sent it into the bushes and had to take a penalty stroke.

His real danger will be Matsuyama, who looms as the first golfer from Japan to win a major.

Everyone on the hard course had concerns Saturday, some less than others.

Neither had threatened the top of the leaderboard in the opening rounds but day three was where their challenges ended.

Matsuyama took advantage of greens softened by an afternoon storm, reeling off five birdies on a six-hole stretch with a series of pinpoint approach shots to card a seven-under 64, a course record in light of the redesign of Quail Hollow before the championship.

"Kis is on fire right now", said McIlroy.

"I didn't have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career grand slam as the youngest ever, " he said. That's what I grew up practicing and playing, to play on the PGA Tour and to have a chance in major championships.

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