Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kisner Fires 65 for RSM Lead; Former UGa Player Has 1-Shot Edge after Opening Round

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kisner Fires 65 for RSM Lead; Former UGa Player Has 1-Shot Edge after Opening Round

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA. | Kevin Kisner is going to win on the PGA Tour - one day.

His combination of accuracy and putting made the University of Georgia graduate one of the top all-around players on the Tour, earning him a spot in the 2015 Tour Championship and eventually finishing 21st in the final FedEx Cup rankings.

But Kisner has topped out with four runner-up finishes - in his last 19 starts - including the dramatic playoff in The Players Championship when he took Rickie Fowler to four holes before Fowler made the winning birdie putt at No. 17.

He did it again two weeks ago, finishing solo second to Russell Knox in the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Rather than another disappointment, it might be an omen. The combination of Kisner's prolonged spell of solid golf and a feeling of comfort at the Sea Island Club could be the winning combination this week for the 31-year-old from Aiken, S.C.

Kisner fired a bogey-free 65 on Thursday at the Sea Island Club Plantation Course to take a one-shot lead over eight players tied at 6 under in the first round of the RSM Classic. He eagled the eighth hole (his 17th) on a 25-foot putt to take sole possession of first and got up-and-down for par at the ninth to keep it.

He missed only two fairways and three greens on a humid, dreary day.

"The golf course was susceptible to low scores," he said. "The par-5s were gettable, and I hit a lot of wedge shots into the par-4s."

The traffic jam behind Kisner includes five players tied for second who were on the Plantation, Jim Herman (who chipped in for eagle at the par-5 18th hole), Kyle Stanley, Kevin Chappell, Scott Stallings and Si Woo Kim. Three players reached 6 under at the par-70 Seaside, David Hearn, Jeff Overton and Tom Hoge.

Major champions Stewart Cink and Jason Dufner and St. Simons resident Jonathan Byrd lead 13 players tied at 5 under. All three played at the Plantation.

Harold Varner III of Ponte Vedra Beach, who tied for fifth last week in the OHL Classic, logged his ninth consecutive under-par round with a 66 at Seaside and is among the crowd at 4 under that includes David Lingmerth of Ponte Vedra Beach (Seaside) and Harris English of St. …

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