Z. Johnson, Daly trail Kirk at Sony Open


With tee times moved up to skirt inclement weather in Honolulu, conditions were ideal for scoring at Waialae Country Club and players took full advantage. Here's how things stand heading into the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Chris Kirk holds a slim lead with several players still in the mix:

Leaderboard: Chris Kirk (-12), Will Wilcox (-11), Harris English (-11), Jerry Kelly (-10), Jimmy Walker (-10), Zach Johnson (-9), Retief Goosen (-9)

What it means: A winner earlier this season at the McGladrey Classic, Kirk fired a 5-under 65 Saturday to emerge from a logjam that at one point saw as many as seven players tied for the lead. As he sets his sights on a third career PGA Tour victory, he'll have to fend off a pack of contenders that includes English and Walker, both winners already this season, and Johnson, the former Masters champ and fellow Georgia resident who hoisted a trophy just last week in nearby Maui.

Round of the day: After opening with a 4-under 66, John Daly struggled to a 73 in the second and very nearly missed the 36-hole cut. The two-time major champ rebounded in style Saturday, though, carding a 6-under 64 to move back into contention in Honolulu. Daly notched seven birdies against just one bogey in the third round, as the 47-year-old closed with three birdies across his final five holes. Daly will need a similar round Sunday to retain full-time playing privileges, as he needs a win or solo second to keep his current PGA Tour status.

Best of the rest: Playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption, Wilcox is making the most of his opportunity and surged into contention thanks to a 6-under 64 Saturday. Wilcox began slowly, playing his first six holes in 1 under, but then recorded four birdies across a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 7-13. The PGA Tour rookie added birdies on his final two holes and at 11 under sits just one shot off the pace heading into the final round.

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Biggest disappointment: Reigning Masters champ Adam Scott began the day in contention and birdied his first hole, but from there the Aussie failed to get anything going. On a day when the rest of the pack had little issue carding red figures, Scott failed to make another birdie until the home hole, and his 1-over 71 caused him to drop into a tie for 27th. At 6 under for the week, he will now begin the final round six shots off the pace with a large pack of names above his on the leaderboard.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Kirk showed at Sea Island that he has the ability to close when leading, and those chasing will likely need to go low Sunday to pass him. Waialae is certainly a course that can yield a low score or two, however, giving hope to those still within striking distance. Twelve players will enter the final round within three shots of Kirk's lead, and as a result this event remains far from over.

Shot of the day: Ryan Palmer tugged his tee shot at the par-5 18th, but he was able to recover in dramatic fashion. With the ball well above his feet in a fairway bunker, Palmer hoisted a fairway wood approach that landed just short of the green and rolled to within seven feet of the hole. The Texan holed the subsequent putt for eagle to put the finishing touches on a 3-under 67 that moved him to 8 under for the week.