Hideki Matsuyama and Kevin Kisner battling at the top, as well as Jordan Spieth's fading Grand Slam hopes, are among the top storylines to watch on the third day of the 2017 PGA Championship.
Matsuyama and Kisner enter Saturday at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, deadlocked on eight-under at the top of the leaderboard. By contrast, Spieth finds himself floundering on three-over and now looks a long shot to repeat his heroics at this year's British Open Championship.
Here's what the leaderboard looks like entering Day 3:
Perhaps the main storyline of the day will be the weather after darkness called a halt to Round 2. It left 25 players still needing to complete their round before the third officially begins at 10 a.m. ET, per Helen Ross of PGATour.com.
Significantly, after a day when the threat of dangerous weather halted play, the forecast hints at the chances of thunderstorms as the afternoon progresses, according to PGATour.com.
Matsuyama's bid to become the first Japanese man to win a major was boosted by a joint-lowest round of 64 on Friday, per BBC Sport. His run of five birdies in six holes on the back nine, beginning at the par-four 12, proved the highlight of his exceptional round.
Matsuyama, ranked No. 3 in the world, has been exceptional on the greens since the start of the tournament. The 25-year-old is coming into his own as a golfer and is starting to look like the man to beat at Quail Hollow, a sentiment summed up well by Ewan Murray of The Guardian: "Matsuyama, though, is the clear and present danger to all as he pursues national history while in the form of his life."
His main competition will come from Kisner, whose lead Matsuyama clawed back on Friday. An eagle at the seventh stood out on Kisner's scorecard, but the bogey at the par-three 13th left him vulnerable.
Overall, though, Kisner has made the key strokes when he's needed them this year. The American has cited his comfort with the course as one reason for his impressive scoring, per the Tour's official Twitter account:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
After 36 holes, Kevin Kisner feels right at home. https://t.co/ICFqDVp2aa https://t.co/1QSRjmEcaG2017-8-12 02:12:02
Kisner has played well, but the three bogeys he's hit so far indicate a possible fragility an in-form Matsuyama could exploit on the third day. Both players are setting the pace at the top, with their intense scrap set to be the standout storyline of the third round.
Spieth isn't in the mix at the top, but there will likely be just as much attention paid to the rapidly fading chances of him completing the Grand Slam. The 24-year-old Texan's hopes are hanging by the proverbial thread after a tough second day in Charlotte.
Bookending the back nine with bogeys hardly helped Spieth's bid to improve his stock. He had already been guilty of an early bogey, this one at the par-four three.
Aside from the bogeys, there have just been too many pars for a player who desperately needs to hole his share of birdies on Day 3.
Spieth has bemoaned the challenges set by the course at Quail Hollow, per Jaime Diaz of GolfDigest.com: "The pins were in such tough locations, it was hard to get the ball to feed to the hole. It's a tough track where they are putting these flag sticks.
A player struggling for form trying to negotiate a challenging course is going to require nothing short of a miracle to turn things around at this stage. It's more likely about salvaging pride now for Spieth, who can start saying goodbye to any thoughts of a Grand Slam.
Spieth is unlikely to get near the leaders, but Jason Day is just two shots behind in third, while there is an intriguing three-way tie in fourth. Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Chris Stroud are all on five-under.
Of the group, former major champion Oosthuizen has the experience, pedigree and skill to make things uncomfortable for Matsuyama and Kisner. The 34-year-old South African carded four birdies as part of his four-under 67 on Friday.
He has left himself well-positioned to make a decisive move on Day 3.
Ultimately, Kisner's battle with Matsuyama is set to dominate the focus over the final two rounds.
All scorecard information per the PGA Championship official website.