The 2016 PGA Tour continued in exciting fashion Saturday at the Sony Open in Honolulu as Zac Blair made up two strokes to tie Brandt Snedeker for the lead at 16 under.
Blair, however, could’ve been the outright leader if not for his worst putt of the tournament on hole No. 18, missing a two-foot birdie on the par five. He still made up two strokes with a six-under outing to tie Snedeker, who was perched atop the leaderboard after the first two rounds.
Kevin Kisner rounds out a top three of Americans on the leaderboard, with South Korea's Si Woo Kim and Argentina’s Fabian Gomez trailing among the top five, and seven golfers are lurking at 11 under.
Here is a look at the leaderboard, courtesy of the PGA:
Snedeker is gunning for his eighth PGA Tour win, but Sunday will be a major challenge, as Kisner is arguably the hottest player on tour outside of superstar Jordan Spieth, who’s not competing at the Sony Open.
The PGA Tour highlighted Kisner’s recent finishes and shared a video of his putt to tie Snedeker:
Kisner, a former Georgia Bulldogs golfer who worked his way through the Nationwide Tour ranks, is shooting for his second PGA Tour win.
And he’s appreciating his opportunity among the elite, per Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press:
I always remember I won a Tar Heel Tour event in Greensboro and I had to be in Memphis the next day for my U.S. Open sectional qualifying. And I drove all through the night to get there. I remember getting there thinking, 'Man, this is brutal.' ... I look at it as experience. All that stuff is a culmination of where I am now. It’s what makes me hopefully look the way I am on the golf course, as someone who is appreciative of all we have. I never want to be the guy that people say, 'Well, he's gone to the other side where he doesn't appreciate playing the PGA Tour.
Should Kisner keep his pace, he could be on the verge of cracking the Top 10 in the World Golf Ranking—after a remarkable climb in less than a year—as Justin Ray of Golf Channel noted:
With a win this week, @K_Kisner could move as high as 11th in the world. He was 282nd in the middle of March 2015.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) January 17, 2016
Aside from the tournament’s contenders, Steve Stricker—tied for 31st at eight under—stole the show Saturday with the best shot of the afternoon, nailing an eagle with precision on No. 10, courtesy of the PGA Tour:
Shot of the Day: Steve Stricker plays a perfect golf shot. https://t.co/CybmVA6C2i— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 17, 2016
Stricker, 48, is playing in his first tournament since undergoing back surgery 13 months ago and hopes his performance in the Sony Open is foreshadowing what’s to come, per Steve DiMeglio of USA Today:
I feel a little bit stronger, a little bit healthier. I’m starting to feel somewhat like my old self, I think. I’m going through the ball a little bit stronger. I feel better with where my conditioning and where my body is at compared to some times last year, so I’m excited to play and look forward to playing a few more events, probably closer to 14, 15 events this year.
The best performance of the day belonged to Matt Kuchar, who finished eight under Saturday to bring his score to 11 under for the tournament.
Kuchar could be a force to be reckoned with after finishing the third round with momentum, per the PGA Tour:
Kuchar birdied his final six holes today for a 62. He made putts from: • 30 ft • 6 ft • 7 ft • 15 ft • 5 ft • 4 ft pic.twitter.com/2Wdaz7MrCI— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 17, 2016
Sunday should be exciting.
Last week, Spieth ran away in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua with minimal competition, finishing a comfortable eight strokes ahead at 30 under, just one stroke away from the PGA Tour record.
After the tour shifted to another island in Hawaii, there figures to be an exciting finish Sunday.