AFP: Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and American Kevin Kisner each closed with birdies Thursday to share a one-stroke lead at the PGA Championship while Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy stumbled in quest of golf history.
Olesen sank a 27-foot putt at the par-4 18th while Kisner’s was from 21 feet as both birdied three of the last five holes to fire four-under-par 67s at Quail Hollow in the year’s last major tournament.
Kisner, ranked 25th, won his second US PGA title in May at Colonial and grew up two hours from the course. Being familiar with the putting surface paid off with his first lead after any round of a major.
One stroke adrift were US Open winner Brooks Koepka and fellow Americans Gary Woodland, Grayson Murray, Chris Stroud and D.A. Points.
World number two Spieth, who won his third major title at last month’s British Open, struggled with his putter in firing a 72, joining McIlroy five strokes adrift.
Spieth, who also won the 2015 Masters and US Open, can become only the sixth man to sweep the four current major titles in a career after Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.
At 24, he would become the youngest on the career Slam list by winning the Wanamaker Trophy this week, about six months younger than the mark held by Woods.
Fourth-ranked McIlroy, 28, could become only the third player to win five majors before turning 30, joining Nicklaus and Woods. He has two PGA titles and two US PGA triumphs at Quail Hollow.
England’s Paul Casey and 10th-ranked American Rickie Fowler, whose first career PGA triumph was at Quail Hollow, were among seven on 69, Fowler thanks to six birdies that helped offset a triple bogey seven at the fifth hole.
World number one Dustin Johnson was in a pack on 70 that included Australia’s Jason Day, Spain’s Jon Rahm and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. Johnson said putting was as tough as he has seen all season.