Leaders set for long day as rain-hit PGA resumes

Jason Day (Getty Images)
Jason Day (Getty Images)

Springfield - Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day and US co-leaders Robert Streb and Jimmy Walker were among those steeling themselves for a 36-hole race to the finish Sunday at the storm-hit PGA Championship.

Streb, who matched the low round in major golf history Friday with a seven-under 63 at rain-softened Baltusrol, and Walker were on nine-under 131 through 36 holes with Day and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo two strokes adrift as third-round play resumed.

"You've got to be a little bit aggressive," Day said. "It should yield a few more birdies, but also stay patient with regards to the weather, just keep yourself mentally intact."

British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden was fifth on 134 with two-time major winner Martin Kaymer of Germany on 135 with Americans Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

None of them managed to start their third rounds Saturday due to thunderstorms that stopped play with only 37 of 86 players able to finish, but some made a charge before the storm -- American Kevin Kisner fired a 65 to seize the 54-hole clubhouse lead at 205.

PGA of America officials, trying to finish on Sunday without having to start players off the 10th tee, will start the final round while Walker and Streb are barely halfway into the front nine of their third round.

"That's one of the unfortunate things," said Kerry Haigh, PGA of America chief of championships. "Whether it's positive or negative, you could argue it both ways. That will be an interesting dynamic for sure. Add to the excitement, actually."

There could be plenty of excitement if the thunderstorms in the forecast avoid the 7,428-yard layout, with US five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, the 2005 PGA winner at Baltusrol, predicting a major-record 62 or better.

"Somebody is going to break that 63 record in these next two days," Mickelson said Saturday after firing a third-round 68. "Greens are pristine. You can make a lot of putts. They are soft, so you can get the ball very close.

"I think there's that 61 or 62 out there. I think it will be broken in the next two days. I would be surprised it wasn't."

Streb, who missed the cut at the year's first three majors, has not managed a top-10 finish in a US PGA event since his share of 10th at last year's PGA Championship -- 27 events of mounting frustration that could end with him hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy.

"I'm guessing we're going to be here 'til at least Monday, hopefully not Tuesday," Streb said. "But we'll see how it goes. Still got to play 36 holes, see how many we get in."

Not everyone has half the tournament to go, however.

"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," Grillo said.

Stenson, coming off his first major victory two weeks ago at Royal Troon, was concerned about the mental grind of the weather and the physical toll of dawn-to-dark play.

"It's going to be a long day," Stenson said. "I don't know if it's a benefit or not, not having started. But it's the same for everyone in the last groups. It will be a long day. It's normally the mind that gives up before the body."

Kaymer, the 2010 PGA and 2014 US Open winner, was ready for both tests.

"An ideal case, we're going to play 36 holes, which I don't mind," Kaymer said. "It's going to be good for the guys who are fairly fit. It's going to be a mental challenge to stay on top of your game that long."

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