Kisner on verge of first PGA Tour victory with three-shot lead

Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:47pm EST
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(Reuters) - Kevin Kisner moved tantalizingly close to an elusive first PGA Tour victory when he birdied the final three holes to earn a three-shot lead after the third round at the RSM Classic in coastal Georgia on Saturday.

On a day when contender Graeme McDowell incurred a one-shot penalty after a brain freeze, Kisner carded a six-under-par 64 on the Seaside course at Sea Island, punctuating his round with a 28-foot birdie putt at the final hole.

He posted a 16-under 196 total, while fellow American Kevin Chappell, the halfway leader, shot 68 for 13-under, with Northern Irishman McDowell (65) four shots off the pace.

After already posting four runner-up finishes this year, the latest two weeks ago at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, Kisner said he was not particularly nervous as he seeks to his breakthrough.

“I haven’t been in this position with a three-shot lead going into the last day all year. It’s going to be a type of new atmosphere but I’m just going to keep playing the way I’m playing.”

The 31-year-old, who recently bought a second home on Sea Island, has worked his way up to 25th in the world rankings without posting a victory.

“If I keep hitting the ball the way I am, I just need to hole some putts,” he said.

McDowell, meanwhile, suffered a setback in his quest for a second successive win when he picked up his ball in the fairway on the first hole.

The PGA Tour had played lift, clean and place for the previous 10 rounds (over three events) due to wet conditions, but did not invoke the rule on Saturday.   Continued...

Kevin Kisner waves to the gallery after putting out out on the 18th green during the third round of the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports