Kis­ner grabs share of lead as strat­egy falls into place

New Straits Times - - Sport - CHARLOTTE

KEVIN Kis­ner is not known for the length of his drive but he ex­e­cuted his game plan to per­fec­tion at the long, rain-soft­ened Quail Hol­low lay­out on Thurs­day to emerge with a share of the first-round lead at the PGA Cham­pi­onship.

The slightly-built Amer­i­can fin­ished on a high with a mag­nif­i­cent birdie af­ter driv­ing into the rough at the 18th to end up with a four-un­der 67, join­ing Dane Thor­b­jorn Ole­sen at the top of the leader­board.

“There’s about four or five holes that I have to birdie to com­pete and I birdied them all to­day,” the 33-year-old told re­porters.

“So that’s kind of been my game plan. Make a lot of pars and get to a par-five or one of those short par-fours (where) I can do my wedge game and get it to 10 or 12 feet. That’s my plan.”

Kis­ner said seven, eight, 14 and 15 were his must-have holes and sure enough he birdied them.

The South­ern Carolinian added an­other birdie at the parthree sixth for a three-in-a-row streak and the birdie at the tricky 18th put a cherry on top of his day.

Win­ner in Fort Worth this year for his sec­ond PGA Tour ti­tle, Kis­ner said he was ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing to plot his strat­egy to keep up with the long hit­ters.

“I’m go­ing to say ev­ery course we play is a bomber’s course,” he said.

“But if they are not play­ing from the fair­way, I wouldn’t want to be do­ing it. The rough’s bru­tal. I don’t care how far they hit it.

“If I can keep hit­ting fair­ways, I’m go­ing to like my chances.”

Kis­ner grabbed his share of the lead de­spite fail­ing to stay on the fair­way at the 18th.

“I had 200 (yards) to the front and I was in be­tween a five and a six-iron,” he said.

“It’s just all de­pen­dent on your lie. That one was just thinned be­hind it so I knew I could get a club on it ...

“I knew it would come out knuck­ling, and was just try­ing to judge how far it’s go­ing to run.”

Kis­ner’s judg­ment was im­pec­ca­ble as his chal­leng­ing ap­proach shot ran up to the green 20 feet left of the hole — close enough for a birdi­ethree to send him into the sec­ond round as co-leader.

“I’m just go­ing to be try­ing to stick to birdieing the holes they give to you to make birdie,” he added. Reuters


Kevin Kis­ner putts on the 12th dur­ing the first round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship on Thurs­day.

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