GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA | In answering one question – would Kevin Kisner finally win a PGA Tour playoff after going 0-5 in them? – the winner of the Wyndham Championship raised another question.
What does this do to Kisner’s hopes of being picked for the U.S. Ryder Cup team next month?
Kisner’s victory on the second hole of the six-man playoff at Sedgefield Country Club – he made a 4-foot birdie putt one hole after Adam Scott had missed from a similar length to win – thrust him into the conversation about what captain Steve Stricker will do with his six picks next month.
Coming into Greensboro, Kisner figured he needed to win at least once to get Stricker’s full attention.
He checked that box Sunday.
“I’ve never been picked before, so I’m not going to go out there and jump on a limb and say that I’m going to get picked this year,” said Kisner, who qualified for the 2017 Presidents Cup team and went 2-0-2 in a U.S. victory. “My game’s rounding into form. I’m looking forward to the playoffs and we’ll just see how the cards play out.”
With three holes remaining in the final round, Kisner didn’t think he could win. But two late birdies and some help from others, including Russell Henley who went backward after leading the first three days, put Kisner in the playoff with Scott, Si Woo Kim, Kevin Na, Branden Grace and Roger Sloan.
When Scott let everyone back in with his point-blank miss on the first playoff hole, Kisner seized his second chance with a birdie at the difficult, uphill par-4 18th hole.
From mid-April until mid-June, Kisner missed seven cuts in nine starts. Since then, he’s posted two top-10 finishes in addition to his fourth career victory.
“I’m back to a really good form,” Kisner said. “Struggled in the spring just getting my ballstriking, any confidence in it. Played in some crazy weather with some big numbers and just kept missing cuts and you can’t ever get any momentum if you’re not playing all four days. Started to make a lot more cuts and see the things I need to see coming down the stretch.”
For a player known for his match-play moxie – he won the 2019 WGC-Match Play after finishing runner-up in 2018 – Kisner hadn’t had success in sudden-death playoffs until Sunday. There was nothing complicated about it.
“Whoever I was playing against made birdie and I didn’t. That’s pretty simple,” he said.
Sunday at Sedgefield, it was Kisner’s turn to make the birdie.
Ron Green Jr.