DJ one back as Kisner, Knox lead WGC-HSBC Champions


Updated Saturday, 9 p.m. ET

Russell Knox finished his third round Sunday morning, making birdie on the 18th hole to tie Kevin Kisner for the 54-hole lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Two players, including 2013 champion Dustin Johnson, trail by just one heading into the final 18 holes in Shanghai. Here’s how the third round unfolded after a 75-minute rain delay softened Seshan International, leaving it prone to low scores:

Leaderboard: Kisner (-16), Knox (-16), D. Johnson (-15), Haotong Li (-15), Jordan Spieth (-13), Ross Fisher (-13), Patrick Reed (-13)

What it means: Kisner remains in search of his first PGA Tour win after losing in three playoffs last season, at the RBC Heritage, Players Championship, and the Greenbrier. Johnson, the winner in 2013 who failed to defend in 2014 while on a leave of absence, is in the hunt for his second HSBC-Champions title and third World Golf Championship. Li, who registered just one top-10 in 23 starts on the Tour last season, is in search of his first European/PGA Tour victory after losing to Kiradech Aphibarnrat in a playoff at the Shenzen International in April. Finally, Knox had to return Sunday morning to finish his third round after declining to go down the 18th hole in the dark while his playing partners, Kisner and Branden Grace, finished.

Round of the day: After rounds of 68-72, Jordan Spieth exploded for a bogey-free 9-under 63 Saturday. The reigning player of the year went out in 32 and came home in 31, making nine birdies. His number tied Grace’s Day 1 score for round of the week.

Best of the rest: Three players – Johnson, Ross Fisher and Marc Leishman – turned in rounds of 7-under 65. DJ and Leishman were spotless while Fisher made up for his lone bogey with an eagle at the par-5 14th.

Biggest disappointment: Playing in the final group, Grace failed for the second straight day to follow up on his hot start to the week. After opening with a 63, he carded consecutive 71s and now finds himself five shots back heading into the final round.

Shot of the day: A sluggish even-par through 14 holes, Kisner chipped in for birdie at the 15th and followed it with another birdie at 16, allowing him to hold onto his lead:

Storyline to watch Sunday: Of the players at the very top of the board, Johnson has the most experience and prior success, but lurking in a tie for fifth is Spieth, who in one round cut his deficit from 10 shots to three.