Lahiri drops to tied 68 as putter fails him in third round

Lahiri shot five-over 76 and his total went to eight-over 221.

Anirban Lahiri of India plays his second shot on the second hole during the third round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.   -  AFP

India’s Anirban Lahiri struggled with his putter and slipped from tied 43rd to joint 68th by the end of the third day of the prestigious PGA Championships at Quail Hollow on Saturday.

Lahiri shot five-over 76 and his total went to eight-over 221.

Later today, Lahiri will try and gain some confidence for the coming weeks, including the FedExCup play-offs.

Kevin Kisner (72) stayed ahead but only by a shot over Hideki Matsuyama (73), whose game seemed to have deserted him.

Also tied second was the world No. 203 Chris Stroud (71).

Justin Thomas (69) and Louis Oosthuizen (71) were tied fourth at five-under, while Grayson Murray (73) was sixth at three-under.

Lahiri missed a bunch of putts and messed up a couple of chips, but he did have a great day off the tees, from where he was very accurate.

Lahiri said, “I would be putting things mildly if I said I was only disappointed. It was one of those days, when nothing went my way. I missed a lot of putts, including two very small ones.”

He finished the day with three birdies, four bogeys and two double bogeys but what hurt even more was the small tap- ins that did not fall and the chips that were way below his standards.

Once again, just as it was in the first two rounds, it was a shaky start. But this time it was worse with a double bogey and a bogey on first two holes. From there on, it was a fight to just hang in.

He had a bogey and a birdie on sixth and seventh, as he turned in three-over. Birdies on 10th and 15th were neutralised by bogeys on 11th and 12th. On the 11th, a tap-in from less than three feet resulted in a bogey and on 12th, he went into the rough and got only to the fringe in three and ended with a second successive bogey.

The Green Mile, which was kinder to him on the first two days, extracted a double as he missed a four-foot tap-in for a bogey on the 16th.

Co-leaders Kisner and Matsuyama, besides Jason Day (77), saw a lot of drama on the final stretch of three holes called the Green Mile.

Starting the proceedings at six-under, Day even went to seven-under with a birdie, but by the time the front nine ended, he was five-under. He parred 10th and 11th and over the next, his card had everything except a par.

He doubled the 12th, bogeyed 13th, birdied three in a row from 14th to 16th and then bogeyed 17th and messed up with a quadruple bogey, raising questions over his shot selection.

He could have got away with a bogey or worse a double but he went in for a shot that he expected to miss the tree and the bushes within hand-shaking distance. From four-under, he fell to even par in one single hole.

Kisner, too, had a roller-coaster final five holes. He birdied the 14th and on 15th he had an eagle putt, which horse-shoed out, but he did get a birdie and went into double figures at 10-under. At that stage he was two ahead of Chris Stroud (71) and four clear of Matsuyama.

But mental errors led to a double bogey at the 16th where he went into the water, and by the time he had the ball into the cup, it was a double.

On the 18th, Kisner hit into the hazard line on the creek, but he was lucky that the ball hit the stone bridge over the creek and bounced over.

Stroud, eight-under after 16, bogeyed the 17th and 18th to fall to six-under.

Matsuyama, who bogeyed the 12th and 13th, missed a lot of putts but managed to keep pars for the last five holes to stay just one behind Kisner. That also gave him a chance to become the first Japanese player to win a Major.