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SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Thunderstorms shut down the PGA Championship on Saturday before 10 players could even hit a shot, setting up what could be a long, wet and wild conclusion to the final major of the year — whenever it ends.
Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb made it as far as the practice range before clouds gathered, the sky rumbled and storms dumped more rain on an already saturated golf course at Baltusrol. Tied for the lead at 9-under par, they faced a 36-hole Sunday, provided the course could be ready by 7 a.m.
Otherwise, another Monday finish loomed, and that was only part of the unpredictable nature of this PGA Championship.
Kevin Kisner had seven birdies in his round of 5-under 65 and was at 5-under 205. He was one shot ahead of Padraig Harrington, who also had a 65. They were among only 37 players of the 86 who made the cut to complete the third round.
The plan was for the third-round pairings to go right back out Sunday morning, meaning they would finish before the last group even began the fourth round.
“That will be an interesting dynamic, for sure,” said Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America’s managing director of championships. “Add to the excitement, actually.”
It was the second time the PGA rolled the dice at Baltusrol and failed.
In the 2005 PGA Championship, they chose not to move up the tee times on Sunday with a high possibility of storms in the forecast, and Phil Mickelson had to return to play five holes to secure a one-shot victory.
With storms in the forecast for Saturday afternoon, Haigh said the PGA did not “significantly” consider a two-tee start Saturday morning in threesomes.
“The forecast is similar to what it has been the previous two days, with a chance of rain in the afternoon, summer showers. And that’s exactly what we got,” Haigh said. “Unfortunately, today they hit us. And yesterday, they missed us.”
It was the third time in five years that weather messed with the PGA Championship. The final round was played in threesomes off both tees at Kiawah Island in 2012, and Valhalla was a quagmire in 2014, though the last two rounds were played in twosomes and barely finished. Rory McIlroy won both of them.