SPRINGFIELD, US: Thunderstorms that prevented leaders from starting the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) set the stage for a bizarre finish at rain-swamped Baltusrol.
Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day of Australia, only two shots back of US co-leaders Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb, and British Open champion Henrik Stenson, who sat three adrift, were among those unable to tee off due to dangerous weather.
“The course looks like it’s unplayable. Everything is underwater, regardless of whether the lightning stopped,” said Streb, who matched the low round in major history with a seven-under 63 on Friday.
But 37 of 86 golfers who made the cut did complete the third round before storms stopped play for the day, with resumption set for 7 a.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday (Monday in Manila) over the water-logged par-70 layout.
More thunderstorms are forecast Sunday and Monday, so Kerry Haigh, PGA of America’s chief championships officer, decided to keep third-round pairings for the fourth round and start it early to try and finish on Sunday.
“Our hope is that those showers or storms hit elsewhere,” Haigh said.
But it means American Kevin Kisner, who fired a five-under par 65 to share sixth on five-under 205, will play his final round while Day and other 36-hole leaders are in their third.
“There’s going to be people that play 18 holes like Kevin Kisner and he’s going to have a little bit more of an advantage,” said Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, level with Day for third.
Haigh called the situation “unfortunate” but added, “That will be an interesting dynamic, for sure. It will add to the excitement, actually.”
Haigh decided against using threesomes off two tees early Saturday to complete the third round before the storms because the same forecast produced only a minor stoppage Friday, and he wants everyone off the first tee on the weekend.
Streb and Walker were on nine-under 131 after 36 holes, two shots ahead of Day and Grillo with Stenson fifth at six-under as the mental and physical challenge loomed.
Baltusrol had already been soaked by three inches of rain this week, creating soft conditions that had five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, the 2005 PGA winner at Baltusrol, predicting a major-record 62 or better for the weekend.