Late birdie lifts Kisner and Brown to Zurich Classic lead

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PV Sports Desk : Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, still smarting from a playoff loss at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last year, seized the third-round lead in the team event on Saturday with a birdie at the last hole.

Brown rolled in a two-foot birdie putt at the 18th to cap the team’s eight-under par 64 in the four-ball format third round.

Their 20-under total of 196 put them one stroke in front of Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays, who combined for a 63, and Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam who posted a 66.

Brown’s closing birdie was his third of the day and his first since the fouth hole.

In the meantime Kisner had kept things rolling, finishing with seven birdies as the team overcame two bogeys on the back nine.

“The greens are rolling nice and I felt pretty good with the putter all week,” Kisner said. “I made a lot of long putts, which is fun and probably why we’re in the lead. It’s normally what happens when you get a putter rolling. So it’s been fun. Hopefully I can knock a few in for him tomorrow.”

Brown said he was heading to the range to try to “iron a few things out” in hopes of contributing more in Sunday’s foursomes final round.

The more volatile alternate-shot format promises some last-day fireworks, especially with 17 teams within five shots of the lead.

Finau and Summerhays played without a bogey, picking up four birdies in their last five holes.

“We had four birdies in a row I feel like on some of the tougher holes on the golf course,” said Finau, who continues to make strides in his first tournament since the Masters — where he finished with a share of second after partially dislocating his left ankle during the pre-tournament Par-3 Contest. “We just ham-and-egged it really nicely. You know, I birdied 14, he birdied 15, I birdied 16, 17.”

But Finau said the big momentum-shifter came at the 10th, where he hit it out of play and Summerhays came up with a clutch birdie.

“That kept the momentum going for us when we really needed it,” Finau said. “Kept me in it for a couple of holes that I didn’t have my best stuff. So, the great thing about this format is it’s a team format, and we’ve been picking each other up nicely throughout these last three days.