Garrick Higgo is tied for third as the Palmetto Championship at Congaree heads into its final round, but the South African American Chesson Hadley holds a four-stroke lead.
Hadley, chasing his first US PGA title in seven years, seized control before dangerous weather halted Saturday’s third round of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.
Play was stopped by a thunderstorm with the last four golfers on the 18th hole in the one-off tournament, a replacement for the Canadian Open canceled by Covid-19.
After waiting more than two hours, play was called for the day with the completion of the round set for Sunday morning.
Hadley, a two-stroke leader when the day began, made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to seize command after briefly losing his edge to US tour newcomer Tain Lee at Ridgeland, South Carolina.
Hadley stood on 14-under with countryman Harris English second on 10-under, and South African Higgo in the clubhouse sharing third on 8-under with top-ranked hometown hero Dustin Johnson, who like Hadley and English had yet to finish the last hole.
The only prior US PGA victory for Hadley came at the 2014 Puerto Rico Open.
Hadley, who had missed four consecutive cuts, found sand left off the first tee and opened with a bogey, then made 10 pars in a row before finding his form.
After blasting out of a bunker to eight feet and holing a birdie putt at the par-5 12th, Hadley rolled in a birdie from just inside 10 feet at 13 and sank a birdie putt from just inside 32 feet at the par-3 14th.
The 33-year-old added a nine-foot birdie at the 16th, parred the 17th and drove into the fairway at 18 when the horn sounded to halt the round.
English birdied the third and sixth holes from about five feet each, then rolled in a 17-foot birdie at the par-3 seventh and a 38-footer to birdie the par-3 10th. He birdied the 15th but found sand and trees on the way to a bogey at 17, falling back to 10-under.
He was looking at a 10-foot birdie putt when play was halted.
Lee, 31, made his PGA debut in January, finishing 69th at Torrey Pines. He was 59th in April at the Texas Open in his only other tour start.
With no world ranking points, Lee trails all 1,881 golfers who have any.
He birdied four of the first five holes, concluding the run with a birdie putt from just outside 33 feet at the par-3 fifth to take the lead at 11-under after Hadley, the overnight leader, opened with a bogey.
But Lee stumbled with bogeys at the 13th and par-3 14th, finding a fairway bunker and missing the green, then followed with a double-bogey disaster at 15 to fall back. He also has yet to finish the last hole.
© Agence France-Presse