Kevin Kisner birdied the first three holes on the back nine to take the lead and held on to win at Colonial despite a Sunday charge by defending champion Jordan Spieth.
Kisner, an Aiken native, shot a 4-under 66 to finish at 10-under 270, including a clutch par save on the 18th hole after a wayward tee shot and an approach that was off the back side of the green and well below the hole. He finished one stroke ahead of Spieth, Sean O'Hair and Jon Rahm.
Spieth shot a bogey-free 65, and was standing on a chair to see over the crowd at the 18th green when Kisner putted up the mound to 5 feet of the cup and then made the winning putt. That came right after Rahm’s 10-foot birdie chance skirted just to the left of the hole.
The 33-year-old Kisner got his second PGA Tour victory in 148 starts since his debut in 2011. He was a runner-up twice this year, and six times over past three seasons. He previously won the RSM Classic in November 2015.
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Kisner helped South Aiken High to a pair of state championships, earned the South Carolina Junior Golf Association’s player of the year award and made All-America at the University of Georgia.
He turned pro after college, spent three years (2007-09) on mini-tours before advancing to the Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour in 2010. He played on the PGA Tour in 2011 and ’12, dropped back to the Web.com in ’13 before finding his first success on the PGA Tour with three top-10s a year later.
He made a giant leap forward in 2015, zooming up the world ranking on the strength of three second-place finishes – all coming in playoff losses. His duel with Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia in the Players is one to remember, and he took Jim Furyk extra holes at Hilton Head. He placed 12th in the U.S. Open.