Thomas was 2 under on the back nine with birdies at 10 and 15 and a routine par at 18, which produced a scoring average of 4.6 Saturday and played as the most hard hole.
Kisner has now held at least a share of the lead after all three rounds this week.
One shot behind him were South African 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Italian Francesco Molinari and American Chris Stroud. Matsuyama struggled to find the fairway off the tee, leading to a disappointing two-over 73. But unlike his playing partners, he avoided catastrophe on the final three holes. He still hit the ball so well that he grabbed two birdies late in the round that enabled him to keep the damage to a minimum. Omar Uresti shot a 70 and was at 2-over 144.
"US Open Sunday, I was out of it, but I gathered a little something off that Sunday round that led to two wins and two tournaments after that including a major. It was nice to see a few putts go in and nice to be here and have a chance on the weekend".
Matsuyama had a bogey-free round that including seven birdies, five on the final seven holes. His only bogey on Friday was on No. 1, a long dogleg par 4. He followed with a bogey on the par-4 18th hole to make the turn at 1 over. After those tournament-saving birdies McIlroy smashed his drive fully 365 yards, hit his approach to 14 feet and rolled his putt to the lip of the hole.
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"I actually played fairly well, and then 3-putt and hit the ball in the water and 3-putted the last", Fowler said after his round.
"But I haven't been spot on all week".
McIlroy managed to muster back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth (his 16th and 17th) to get back to two over and alleviate the threat of missing the cut, but he has plenty of work to do. "If I'm five back at the start of the day, I've got to be less than five back after Friday to really feel like I can play the way this golf course needs to be played and still be able to win". When he finished, none of the other early starters on Friday were within five shots of the lead. Here's a full list of the tee times and pairings for Saturday.
"But on the other hand, I'm looking forward to the weekend and seeing how I do".