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Kisner stumbles, falls into 3-way tie

CANONSBURG - Kevin Kisner discovered Saturday how quickly a four-stroke lead can evaporate over the rugged Southpointe Golf Club.

About 40 minutes.

Kisner, who stormed into the lead of the Mylan Classic with a tournament-tying round of 9-under-par 62 in Friday's second round, appeared to be on his way to a second straight victory in this Nationwide Tour event when he reached 16 under after a birdie on the par-4 11th.

But Kisner double-bogeyed the par-4 16th and staggered into the clubhouse by going 3-over par for the final five holes.

Suddenly, Kisner was at 12-under par and in a logjam atop the leaderboard. A birdie on the par-4 17th gave Kisner a round of even-par 71 and thrusted him into a three-way tie for the lead with England's Gary Christian and John Mallinger from Escondido, Calif., at 13-under 200.

If Kisner can win this event, he will become the first repeat champion in the Nationwide Tour's 22-year history.

Billy Hurley III, who served on a Navy destroyer before joining the Nationwide Tour, shot 2-under 69 and sits one shot back. Andrew Svoboda and Scott Brown are two shots back at 11-under.

Today's final round over the par-71, 6.951-yard course begins at 8 a.m. Because of weather concerns, golfers will tee off on No.1 and No. 10 to speed up play.

"It's frustrating," said Kisner, who has three victories on smaller tours to go with his win in the Mylan Classic's debut last year. "I had a chance to run away from the field and didn't do it. There is still another day, and I'm still in the hunt."

Following a wayward 8-iron on the demoralizing 16th, Kisner hit three chip shots and two-putted for the six.

"I pulled an 8-iron I was trying to draw," he said. "I chipped it for days out there."

Kisner also made double-bogey on the par-3 5th, but rallied for five birdies over the next seven holes.

Christian, who won the Nationwide's 2009 Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, strung four birdies together on the back nine to finish the round in 2-under 69.

"This is one of those courses where if you can control yourself, you can make birdies," said Christian. "If you don't ... then you are going to make bogeys."

Mallinger, who won the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational in 2010, birdied three of the last six holes on the back nine and punctuated the round with an eagle on the par-5 11th.

"(The standings) can change so much," Mallinger said. "Things can fluctuate from hole to hole so you need a lot of patience."

One of the more surprising developments of the third round came early, when John Daly withdrew from the tournament with a hamstring problem.

The former British Open champion and five-time winner on the PGA Tour aggravated the injury in Friday's second round and it flared again while Daly was walking down one of the hills on the Southpointe Golf Club course Saturday.

Daly bogeyed the first three holes of the third round but parred No. 4. After making triple bogey on the par-3 fifth, Daly decided to withdraw.

Daly, arguably the second-most recognizable figure in the field to Rocco Mediate, began the day at 6-under.

Rocco Mediate completed Round 3 at 1-under par 70 and is tied for 37th. Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer, shot three over and sits at 214.

Steve Wheatcroft shot a 4-over-par 75 and sits at 215. He has had rounds of 72, 68 and 75. 

Image by Observer Publishing Company.

By Joe Tuscano, Staff writer Observer Publishing Company.

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