Punch Shot: Who will win the 99th PGA?

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Kevin Kisner leads Hideki Matsuyama and Chris Stroud by one shot through three rounds of the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen are just two back. Who will capture the Wanamaker Trophy? Our writers make their picks:


Kevin Kisner’s game plan hasn’t been easy this week. “Sometimes I get a little too aggressive,” he conceded on Sunday, following a 1-over 72 that left him a stroke clear of the field at the PGA Championship. But for three days the South Carolina native has stuck to his plan of fairways and greens and restrained golf. It’s his only chance to compete on the 7,600-yard brute of a course, and so far this week he’s stuck to his plan to perfection.

What will push him over the top on Sunday, however, won’t be that blueprint. It will be a dogged determination that has driven him his entire career.


Hideki Matsuyama. Kevin Kisner might be a feisty competitor, but Matsuyama is the best player among those who have a realistic chance to win. His third-round 73 was likely his bad round of the week, and he won’t have the pressure of playing in the final group Sunday. Last week at Firestone, he conquered a difficult course and surged past the leaders in the final round. He’s poised to do it again.


When I’m sitting at the bar with friends, we sometimes marvel at just how close Louis Oosthuizen is to already having four major titles and three legs of the career Grand Slam. On Sunday, he’ll take a big step toward squaring “what could have been” with his actual list of achievements.

While all of the attention remains on Kevin Kisner and Hideki Matsuyama, Oosthuizen is the only major champion who will start the final round under par. A mishap with a tree root nearly derailed him during the third round, but the South African managed to keep it together and now has only three names ahead of his on the leaderboard. After playoff losses at Augusta National and St. Andrews, not to mention a close call at Chambers Bay, Oosthuizen will be eager to get his hands around a second major trophy. It’s often difficult to predict when he’ll bring his best stuff, but he’s clearly in a good place at the moment and will find a way to capitalize on this particular opportunity.


Well, I’m the one who picked Hideki as my pre-tournament disappointment (nice one, Menta), so I’m not sure how much authority I have left. That being said, I also took Justin Thomas to win. The 24-year-old has already suffered two Sunday disappointments this year at the WGC-Mexico Championship and the U.S. Open, but here’s hoping those experiences taught him how to finish the job this time around. Two back at 5 under par, he doesn’t have anything to protect or anything to lose. Might as well come out firing.

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