Kevin Kisner’s Sunday round at the Web.com Tour’s Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile – an event he won by a stroke – wasn’t bad by any stretch. In fact, closing out a tournament with a 4-under 68 to take home the victory would normally be considered a very solid performance.
The South Aiken grad had already overshadowed that number, though, with an 11-under 61 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead.
The round included nine birdies and an eagle with not a single bogey, and Kisner said that his work on the greens was the reason for the breakout score.
“Obviously, you always putt well when you go low,” he said. “Next thing you know, it kind of snowballed.”
Putting has been something that has let Kisner down a bit in the past and prevented him from carding the birdies necessary to score on professional tours.
Just a few weeks ago in the Panama Claro Championship, Kisner only had one bogey during his first round, but he also had only one birdie and finished with an even-par 70. After a second-round 73, Kisner had missed the cut in the Web.com opener.
Kisner, who was part of a national championship run at the University of Georgia in 2005, said that he’s felt better about his putting game recently and expects more consistent results.
“In the last three months, I’ve been putting really well,” he said. “So hopefully in the future, there will be some more birdies.”
In all, Kisner carded 24 birdies and an eagle to go with only five bogeys at Prince of Wales Country Club to bring a win home from Chile, his second career victory on the Web.com Tour. The first was at the 2010 Mylan Classic near Pittsburgh.
His 2010 performance on what was then the Nationwide Tour helped vault him onto the PGA Tour, where he had managed to stay for two seasons. Despite not making enough money in the 2012 season to automatically renew his PGA card, Kisner appeared set to make a return appearance on the big tour after five rounds of the final stage of Q School.
Heading into the sixth and final round, his 16-under had him well within the top 25 spots that get to play with the PGA’s best for the following season. A final-round 72 left him one shot out of that mark and relegated him to a season on the Web.com Tour.
Kisner said that missing out on his third straight season on the PGA Tour affected his “mental game” even into this season but that he eventually came to the conclusion he would just have to work his way back.
“I was pretty upset over not getting my card back,” he said. “At some point, you have to realize it’s not going to be the case.”
This season, the qualifying process has changed for getting a PGA Tour card. Rather than going through Q School to get from the Web.com Tour to the PGA Tour, golfers will have to either play well enough on the Web.com Tour to be in the top 25 in the tour’s money list or finish in the top 25 of a four-event playoff similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup.
Kisner is currently second in the Web.com Tour money list based completely on the $117,000 dollars he earned in Chile. He said that, while his tournament finishes during the 2012 PGA slate – including a 10th-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open – might net him the opportunity to play on the top tour some this season, he likely wouldn’t take advantage of them.
“I may get a couple starts ... but I’ll probably just decline them and play Web.com,” he said.
The Web.com Tour is back in action on March 21 through 24 with the Chitimacha Louisiana Open at Le Triomphe Country Club in Broussard, La.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
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