Honolulu - Chris Kirk sank a nine-foot birdie putt on the last hole to grab a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Will Wilcox and Harris English after Saturday's third round of the US PGA Sony Open.
Kirk's clutch putt completed a round of five-under par 65 to stand on 12-under 198 through 54 holes at the $5.6 million event at Waialae Country club.
"I got a few good breaks," Kirk said. "Holes where I missed the fairways, I got some decent lies in the rough and guessed the fliers just right, which is tough to do out here."
Kirk, who won his first US PGA title at the 2011 Viking Classic, already owns a tour title this season from last November's McGladrey Classic in this first-ever US tour campaign to extend over two different years.
After birdies at the second and sixth holes, Kirk closed the front nine with a birdie before taking his lone bogey to begin the back side. He answered with birdies at 12 and 14 and took the lead with his birdie at the par-5 18th.
Wilcox birdied the second and par-3 seventh, then opened the back nine with birdies on three of the first four holes. After a bogey at 15, Wilcox closed with back-to-back birdies.
English closed the front nine with three birdies in a row, added back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 before taking his third bogey of the day at 16 and closing with a birdie.
"Those first six holes are tough, but the back nine you can step on the gas a little bit," English said. "The back nine has easier holes to me."
Americans Jerry Kelly and Jimmy Walker shared fourth on 200, one stroke ahead of a pack that included South African Retief Goosen, Australian Robert Allenby, Japan's Hideto Tanihara and Americans Zach Johnson, Jeff Overton, Brian Stuard and Pat Perez.
Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia struggled to a 71, falling to a share of 27th on 204.
Jason Dufner, last year's PGA Championship winner, fired a 67 to share 13th on 202.
Johnson, who won last week's Tournament of Champions, is trying to become the first player to win both US PGA Hawaii events in the same year since South African Ernie Els in 2003.
John Daly matched Wilcox's 64 for the low round of the day, leaping Daly from making the cut on the number to a share of 18th on 203.
Scores after Saturday's third round of the $5.6 million US PGA Tour's Sony Open at Waialae Country Club (par-70, USA unless noted):
198 - Chris Kirk 64-69-65
199 - Will Wilcox 69-66-64, Harris English 66-66-67
200 - Jerry Kelly 67-67-66, Jimmy Walker 66-67-67
201 - Jeff Overton 68-68-65, Robert Allenby (AUS) 68-68-65, Retief Goosen (RSA) 66-69-66, Pat Perez 68-67-66, Zach Johnson 68-67-66, Brian Stuard 65-65-71, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 66-65-70
202 - John Peterson 68-69-65, Brendon Todd 70-66-66, Jason Dufner 67-68-67, Ryan Palmer 65-70-67, Marc Leishman (AUS) 67-64-71
203 - Heath Slocum 69-69-65, Justin Leonard 68-66-69, Hudson Swafford 70-64-69, Greg Chalmers (AUS) 68-66-69, Matt Every 69-65-69, Chris Stroud 68-65-70, John Daly 66-73-64, Bae Sang-Moon (KOR) 63-70-70, Jason Kokrak 66-67-70