Kevin Kisner has had his fair share of significant achievements playing golf. The South Aiken product was dominant as junior before going to the University of Georgia, where he was a part of the Bulldogs’ 2005 national championship team. Since then, he’s gone on to a burgeoning career on the pro tours, earning $582,419 playing the PGA this season.

Today, the 30-year-old Kisner will make a career breakthrough, playing in his first major. Kisner is part of the field for the U.S. Open, which will be played at historic Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

“Everything is good,” Kisner said Wednesday, following a practice round that was abbreviated to 12 holes because of thunderstorms. “I’m going to rely on my caddie to tell me where to hit and try to make a lot of pars.”

Kisner, who will tee off today at 6:56 a.m. on No. 10 in a group with Chad Collins and Lee Kyoung-Hoon, said the U.S. Open will be a test for his short game. While there has been some criticism of the course at Pinehurst, Kisner is a fan of the modified layout.

“It’s fantastic. It’s a great way to play the game,” said Kisner, who already achieved one lifetime milestone Monday, when his wife Brittany gave birth to their first child – Kathleen Grace. “It’s been a little crazy. The hardest thing to do was leaving them at the hospital.”

Mother and child are now comfortably resting at home, where Kisner will join them for a 10-day break following this weekend. But his perspective could help him before then, as he takes on golf’s greatest challenge this week.

Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.