Kirk moves 1 ahead in Honolulu
Honolulu, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kirk broke through a crowded leaderboard on Saturday to move one stroke clear of the field after three rounds of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Kirk, a two-time PGA Tour winner, posted a 5-under 65 in round three to move to 12-under-par 198 after 54 holes.
Will Wilcox matched the low round of the day with his 6-under 64. That helped him jump into a share of second at minus-11. He was joined there by Harris English, who shot 3-under 67 on Saturday.
Jerry Kelly, the 2002 champion, shot 66 to grab a piece of fourth at 10-under 200. He stands alongside Jimmy Walker, who posted a 67 in round three.
Former major champions Zach Johnson (66) and Retief Goosen (66) are among seven players tied for sixth place at minus-9.
Reigning PGA Champion Jason Dufner (67) is tied for 13th at minus-8, while Masters winner Adam Scott struggled to a 1-over 71, which dropped him into a share of 27th at 6-under 204.
On a day in which 13 separate players had at least a piece of the lead during the third round, Kirk used three back-nine birdies to take the lead by himself.
Kirk started his round with a kick-in birdie at the second to move to 8-under. At the sixth, he dropped his approach within five feet and he drained that putt to gain a piece of the lead.
At the par-5 ninth, Kirk chipped to four feet and converted that birdie try to join Pat Perez and Sang-Moon Bae at 10-under. Kirk gave that shot right back at the 10th as his drive sailed well left and his second came up short of the green.
Kirk, who teed off in the third-to-last group out, chipped to 23 feet and 2- putted for bogey. He bounced back with an 8-foot birdie putt on the 12th to join Walker and Kelly in the lead at minus-10.
Walker followed with a birdie on the 12th, then Kirk answered with a short birdie putt at 14 to regain a share of the lead. After three pars in a row, Kirk drained a 9-foot birdie try at the last to move one clear of the field.
"I got a few good breaks. Holes where I missed the fairways, I got some decent lies in the rough and guessed the fliers just right, which is tough to do out here," Kirk stated.
Wilcox, who was four groups ahead of Kirk, posted birdies at the second and seventh. He poured in three birdies in a 4-hole span from the 10th to briefly move into a share of the lead.
At the 15th, Wilcox stumbled to a bogey to slip to minus-9. After a birdie on 17, he 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to get in at 11-under.
English, who was in the penultimate group, tripped to a bogey on the third. He birdied three holes in a row from the seventh to get to 10-under. English tripped to another bogey at the 11th, but rallied with birdies on 14 and 15.
That gave him a piece of the lead, but he 3-putted for bogey on the 16th. English atoned for that mistake with a tap-in birdie at the last.
"Those first six holes are tough, but the back nine you can step on the gas a little bit," English stated. "The back nine has easier holes to me."
NOTES: Kirk has had the 54-hole lead two previous times in his PGA Tour career, and he won both times ... John Daly matched Wilcox's 64 and that helped Daly soar from making the cut on the number into a share of 18th at minus-7 ... Since more than 78 players made the cut, there was a secondary cut on Saturday with eight players, including Scott Verplank and Joe Durant, failing to make it to the final round.
01/11 20:58:49 ET