His second shot rolled down a small road near the 11th tee. The group only five shots behind featured Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey. Louis Oosthuizen also stood at minus-5 following a 67.
Grayson Murray is at 210 after shooting 69. But until he becomes the first Japanese male to get his hands on a major trophy, the 25-year-old will face a pressure with which few American fans are familiar.
"Hopefully it doesn't happen [at Quail Hollow]".
The idea persisted after he birdied 14, 15 and16 to get to two under for the day and into position to have his first sub-par round of the tournament.
On Friday, Matsuyama shot a bogey-free 64 which had seven birdies, five of which came in the last seven holes. He took a penalty stroke, chopped out and went on to make 8 for a round of 77, about which he declined to speak as he left for the parking lot with his wife Ellie.
Day's nightmare round was epitomised by a odd decision on the par-four 18th hole to go for the green with his approach after finding trouble from the tee.
"I said, 'Hey, I don't know if I'm ever going to win".
QUOTEWORTHY: "I had a chance to run away from guys and take people out of the tournament that were four or five, six back, and I didn't do it. Everything's really simple. So I'm going to use that to my advantage tomorrow".
He did pose over the 7-iron that covered the flag tucked behind a bunker on the par-3 17th, leaving him a seven-foot putt for his final birdie.
That was still good enough to remain in contention, a stroke behind Kisner, who dropped three shots in the final three holes.
Stroud three-putted the 18th hole to fall to 6 under. The snappiest dressed Arsenal fan in America drilled his opening approach shot to five feet and then sank a 20-footer on the second for back-to-back birdies. The ball bounced high off a rock and settled into what he called "the worst lie I've seen all week" in the deep Bermuda grass.
But mental errors led to a double bogey at the 16th where he went into the water, and by the time he had the ball into the cup, it was a double.
Or Adam Scott's 76 that started with a four-putt double, and ended with a repeat - eight putts in two holes. So I was a little frustrated there.
"I was disappointed in myself on 18".
From there McIlroy chipped to two feet and holed for par, giving a wry smile and raising his eyebrows to members of the media as he made his way to the 11th tee. It's a major and like I said it's a tough venue.
Like Matsuyama, Stroud is happy to be in the hunt. I've never felt so relaxed on the golf course and I think it's a lot of reason why I'm playing so well. The former world No. 1 has yet to win in what has been a trying year that has included his mother's lung cancer diagnosis.