But a couple of loose swings led to consecutive bogeys and suddenly it was game on, a four-under-par 66 not exactly what Koepka had in mind a couple of hours earlier at Bellerive.
It's an annual expectation for the PGA Championship, which already struggles for an identity and for the interest the other three majors never have trouble generating. At last month's Open Championship at Carnoustie, Woods even seized the Sunday lead with eight holes to play, only to fade by making a sloppy green side double, followed by a bogey. Kisner carded a 6-under par 70 in the second round.
Brooks Koepka sometimes gets ignored on television in the list of notable scores.
Ryan Fox is battling away well at the PGA Championship, seven shots off the lead with one round to play.
Woods failed to convert on both, despite having given himself excellent chances.
But while Schwartzel did not come close from long range, Koepka's attempt from 20 feet agonisingly caught the edge of the hole and stayed out.
"I can live with that", he said Friday after a 4-under 66. "The greens were getting fuzzy, they're getting slow, and I didn't hit the putts quite hard enough. And I blew it by about four feet and then pulled the next one". He said there have been no physical issues since the week began with him taking ice baths to combat swelling.
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The visitors regained the lead but were unable to find the third goal that would have given breathing space as they exhausted . That goalless August albatross is still around his neck and he will have to use the next few games to play himself into form.
Woods has won 14 majors in his career - trailing only Jack Nicklaus, who has 18, for the most all time.
"I thought it was ideal and it just came up short in the bunker", he said. "It was a long day".
"With eight holes left there were a few tricky holes in there".
At the par-5 8th hole, Woods had to lay up with his second shot but hit a great approach.
Kisner had also had the opportunity to shoot 62 after covering the back nine in 29 and picking up another birdie on the seventh, only to bogey the ninth, his final hole of the day.
Second-ranked defending champion Justin Thomas had five morning birdies against a lone bogey to conclude a 65. "I can think of plenty of people along the way telling me I'll be nothing, working at McDonald's, doing things like that. St. Louis has never seen Tiger up close, so it's pretty insane and it makes it a lot more fun".
"Tiger was performing great. It was like turning back the hands of the clock".
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Tiger stormed into contention with back-to-back birdies to start his third round.
Koepka blew out the U.S. Open field at Erin Hills previous year with a record-tying finish of 16 under, this after his short-game coach got right up in his face on the range and told him, "You're no good".
England's Matt Wallace had been tipped as a player to watch by compatriot Tommy Fleetwood and was certainly living up to the star billing as he covered the back nine in 31 to improve to three under par overall.
As he walked off the course, Tiger Woods (at that moment) sat in a tie for fourth place, three strokes back, heading into the final round of the PGA Championship.
There, he needed some help from the leaders to make it interesting, and the same might be required here.
"Another low round", Woods said on what it will take to win. Look at that front nine. He's 2 over for the week on the inward nine and hasn't broken par in three tries.
"It's plugging; we're able to hold 4-irons, 5-irons, whatever we want, at the flags", he said.
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Those birdies after his big blunder stood out to Finau, one of only 11 players to make the cut in all four majors this year.