SEA ISLAND, United States: American Kevin Kisner, a runner-up four times this year, captured his first US PGA Tour title on Sunday (Monday in Manila), firing a six-under par 64 to win the RSM Classic by six strokes.
Kisner’s second 64 in a row left him on 22-under 260 for 72 holes with countryman Kevin Chappell second on 266 and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell third on 267.
“To have my name on that trophy is spectacular,” Kisner said. “It shows all that hard work I’ve done has paid off.”
The 31-year-old who grew up just down the road from Augusta, Georgia, earned a berth in his first Masters and put a year of near-misses behind him.
In addition to a second place behind Scotsman Russell Knox earlier this month at the World Golf Championships event in Shanghai, Kisner lost playoffs to Jim Furyk at the Heritage last April, Rickie Fowler at the Players Championship last May and New Zealand’s Danny Lee last July at the Greenbrier Classic.
Kisner led Chappell by three shots when the day began and while McDowell and Chappell went two-under on their front nines, Kisner fired five birdies without a bogey to seize command.
“I was just playing so well all year, I knew one day I was going to make all those putts and that’s what I did on the front nine,” Kisner said. “It let me coast on the back nine.”
Kisner sank a six-foot birdie at the second and added back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth and to close the front side. He hit a 10-foot birdie putt at the fourth, a 15-footer at five, a seven-footer at eight and a 30-footer to close the front nine. He followed with eight pars and a tap-in birdie at the par-5 15th on the back nine.
Kisner said he hoped the breakthrough for the win would see “the floodgate start to come open”.
“You have got to believe you can win on Thursday and hopefully this helps me to do it every week,” he said.
American Jon Curran was fourth on 269, one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson with Germany’s Alex Cejka and Americans Jeff Overton and Russell Henley on 271.