Third-ranked Matsuyama, trying to become the first Japanese man to win a major title, and 25th-ranked American Kisner, who won his second U.S. tour title in May at Colonial, still shared the second-round lead on eight-under par 134.
His decision to attack with his second shot on that hole from behind a tree - his shot ricocheted off another tree further up in front of him - will long be questioned by observers.
Patrick Reed (69), Gary Woodland (69), Scott Brown (70) and Francesco Molinari (74) are also at two under.
Matsuyama, hoping to make golfing history as Japan's first major victor, had a birdie putt to tie him, but it came up just short.
An adventurous back nine by 2015 PGA victor Jason Day serves as one example of the toll Quail Hollow is taking. But Austria's Bernd Wiesberger had three holes left, seven, eight and nine, and the probability was he would birdie at least one and lower the cut to four over.
Except for two swings and a cruel lip-out, Kisner could be in total command instead of clinging to the lead.
He then played two par effort before making another bogey on the par-three sixth hole.
"With the way I've been playing, how I'm swinging this week and last week going into it, I know I can win this week", Fowler said. The way my game's progressed over my career, I like where I am, and I like having a chance tomorrow.
Day was 2-over for the day and 4-under for the tournament when he stood on the 18th tee and walked off the green even-par and seven shots out of the lead. Spieth endured a tough second day, carding a round of 73 to end the round 11-over, one behind McIlroy, who remained bullish over his chances despite being 10 shots behind the leader. Earlier I had three-putted the 14th from around 25 feet.
He doubled the 12th, bogeyed 13th, birdied three in a row from 14th to 16th and then bogeyed 17th and messed up with a quadruple bogey, raising questions over his shot selection.
The ball lipped the cup for an albatross.
"I didn't make the putts I've been making the first two days and just bad finish there". He could extend the streak of elite-level major winners if he plays on Sunday like he did on Saturday. So I was a little frustrated there.
"I'm disappointed with the way I played today", Matsuyama said through a translator.
With 18 holes left and the way players finished on Saturday, I'm convinced anything could happen.
After sinking a 22-foot par putt at the ninth, Matsuyama began his birdie charge with a 12-foot putt at the par-4 12th and six-footers at the par-3 13th and par-4 14th.