CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kevin Kisner sees no reason he won’t be in contention to win his first PGA tournament event this week at the Wells Fargo Championship.
”If I keep playing the way I’m playing,” Kisner said Wednesday, ”I’m going to win one sooner or later.”
He’s been oh, so close.
Kisner has lost in a sudden-death playoffs in two of the last three tournaments, including Sunday at The Players Championship when Rickie Fowler capped an improbable comeback with a winning birdie putt on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
But the level-headed Kisner hasn’t wasted much time fretting over the second-place finish.
He spent Monday at his brother-in-law’s Duck Bottom Hunting Plantation in Horatio, South Carolina, with fellow professional golfer Boo Weekley and some caddies from the Tour hunting hogs in a remote area with no cellphone service.
He didn’t shoot anything – ”Might have been too many beers consumed,” he said, joking – but said it was a good way to decompress following Sunday’s intense final round.
Although his first PGA Tour win has proved elusive, it’s been a strong year for the 31-year-old Kisner. He’s already pocketed $1.95 million, more than he did in his previous four years on the PGA Tour combined.
He’s riding a wave where he’s striking the ball perfect – and he doesn’t want it to stop.
”It’s one of those stretches in your career where you know you’re playing well, you’re hot and so you better keep playing and do it as long as you can,” Kisner said.
Kisner would like to get his first win because of the exemptions and job security it would bring him on the PGA Tour.
He said that winning would be like a ”giant weight” lifted off his shoulders. But he’s not worried about lost opportunities. He said there isn’t much else he could have done to win.
He’s hit all of the shots he wanted to hit. And he’s made most of the big putts he wanted to make – outside of one miss on No. 18 at The Players Championship that would have given him the outright win in regulation.
He’s still trying to figure out how that putt didn’t drop.
At the RBC Heritage last month, Kisner was in the final group and shot 7-under 64 on the final day, a number that would mean a victory on most Sundays. Instead, Jim Furyk shot 63, forced a playoff and won with a dramatic birdie on the second playoff hole.
”I’ve always wanted the ball in my hand coming down the stretch, and I feel like I’ve had it two out of the last three weeks,” Kisner said.
Then he laughed and said, ”One of these days, I’m going to shoot 65 on Sunday and come up and somebody is going to hand it to me.”
Webb Simpson said he believes Kisner will break through and earn a win soon.
”He’s playing great golf and it’s fun to see a guy like him, who hasn’t been in contention a lot, hitting great quality shots under pressure in big tournaments,” Simpson said.
This week Kisner will face a weaker field this week at Quail Hollow compared to previous years. This tournament once attracted 27 of the world’s top 30 golfers. But it still features some formidable names, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Furyk.
The tournament was moved to a week when many of the world’s top international players, as well as Americans Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Jordan Speith and Fowler, decided to take time off.
But Kisner feels right at home at Quail Hollow Club. His parents grew up in Charlotte, he lives 2 1/2 hours away and his brother-in-law is a member here. He finished sixth last year.
Combine all of that with his recent good play, it’s no wonder Kisner’s confidence is riding high.
”I don’t see any reason why I can’t compete again,” Kisner said. ”I don’t feel tired. I don’t feel worn out or anything. I played great (Tuesday), and I’m still hitting the ball solid.”