Golf: Brown and Kisner snatch New Orleans lead

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(Reuters) – Scott Brown sank a go-ahead birdie putt and took a one-stroke lead with partner Kevin Kisner in the third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Saturday.

The birdie, Brown’s first since the fourth hole, left the 2017 runners-up with a four-ball (best ball) score of eight-under par 64 to go 20-under for the tournament at 196.

“It was nice to get that one there,” Brown told reporters. “I didn’t have my best today and Kevin played great again.”

Kisner carried the day with seven of the team’s 10 birdies as the pair overcame two bogeys on the back nine at TPC Louisiana.

“The greens are rolling nice and I feel pretty good with the putter all week,” Kisner said.

Overnight leaders Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam combined for a 66 to share second place at 197 with Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays, who shot 63 for the round.

Brice Garnett and Chesson Hadley, after an 11-under 61, were another stroke back at 198 with three teams deadlocked at 199.

Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy also teamed up to shoot 61s as did fellow Americans Jason Dufner and Pat Perez.

Also at 199 were American Troy Merritt and Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge after a 62.

A total of 17 teams are within five shots of the lead heading into Sunday’s alternate shot format.

Kisner and Brown began the round one stroke behind Putnam and Kim but teamed up for five birdies on the first nine holes.

Kisner added four more birdies on the back nine before Brown delivered the go-ahead putt.

The pair will hope to go one better than last year.

Kisner’s chip on the 72nd hole forced a sudden-death Monday playoff in the 2017 tournament before Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt prevailed on the fourth playoff hole.

Finau and Summerhays had four consecutive birdies from the 14th hole to stay near the top but missed out on a birdie at the last.

“We just ham-and-egged it really nicely,” Finau said. “You know, I birdied 14, he birdied 15, I birdied 16, 17.”

Putnam and Kim, who have never won on the PGA Tour, remained in contention thanks to five birdies by Putnam.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom