May 29, 2017: In the final round of the 2017 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, Kevin Kisner brushed in a 5-foot putt for par to shoot a final-round 66 to claim his second win on the PGA TOUR.
Not too long ago, the focus on Kevin Kisner centered on his second-place finishes. He had three in the 2014-15 season, each one a playoff loss. Then he had another one that November at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in the early portion of the 2015-16 season.
Or so he thought.
This March, he tied for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Then last month, he and teammate Scott Brown lost a playoff in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event. Kisner had provided the biggest fireworks in regulation that week, holing out on the 72nd hole in near-darkness to force the playoff. But the final tally was still the same.
On Sunday at Colonial, Kisner decided to leave nothing to chance. Having grabbed a share of the lead with three consecutive birdies to start his back nine, he took control late in his round and then produced a clutch up-and-down par from off the green at 18 for his second win on TOUR, avoiding a potential four-man playoff that would have included defending champ Jordan Spieth.
Perhaps Kisner has more second-place finishes in his future. But it’s nice to know he’s now converting a few of them into wins.
“Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win,” he said after moving into seventh in the FedEx Cup standings. “Then I win, and then everybody questions if I was ever going to win again.
“So I knew the way I was playing, I was going to give myself a ton of chances to win. That’s all you ever dream about, is having a chance coming down the last five holes. I’ve had that probably three or four times this year. It’s always fun and you always handle it differently.
“Today I was just having fun with it. I love the golf course and being in that position. I was just having a great time.”
It should be no surprise that Kisner won at Colonial. After a missed cut in 2014, he tied for fifth a year later, then tied for 10th last year. He said the course reminds him of the one he grew up on in South Carolina, where he honed his shot-making skills that are necessary to navigate the tight fairways and small greens here.
He recalled that 2014 result in which he shot 75 in the first round. That remains the negative outlier in his 14 career rounds at Colonial.
“I wasn’t the caliber of player then that I am now,” Kisner said. “I knew the course suits my game. How did I shoot that high on this course?”
Kisner calls Colonial a top-five course for him, and he enjoys coming to Fort Worth. He told the crowd at the trophy ceremony that when the TOUR schedule comes out each year, Colonial week is “highlighted, circled and doubled-over.”
He didn’t even mind that the fans were pulling for local favorite Spieth to join Ben Hogan as the only successful defending champs.
“He’s a great kid,” Kisner said of Spieth. “I love him. But I love beating him too.”