Kevin Kisner is out of reasons to play for second place. He’s been there way too many times, just shy of the win on the PGA Tour — eight times, in fact, including two already this season. So, on Sunday at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas, he was playing for nothing short of the trophy at Hogan’s Alley.
In the end, his go-for-broke style paid off, winning the Dean & DeLuca Invitational by holding off defending champion Jordan Spieth, rising world-beater Jon Rahm and wily veteran Sean O’Hair by a shot with a 10-under 270 total.
“You start questioning if you’re going to win again after a while,” Kisner said. “Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win. Then I win, and then everybody questions if I was ever going to win again.”
Kisner birdied the first three holes of the back nine to take the lead, then had to hang on as he came to the 18th hole. After finding the trees with his tee shot, his approach went beyond the green, Kisner found a way to get up-and-down to post 10 under and eliminate Spieth, Rahm and O’Hair. Webb Simpson, playing in the final group, needed a miracle on Sunday’s toughest hole to force a playoff. He couldn’t, and Kisner had won.
It’s a bit of karma for Kisner, who gave up a three-stroke back-nine lead on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He and partner Scott Brown then lost the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on the fourth hole of a Monday playoff after Kisner holed out for eagle on the closing par 5 in practical darkness the day prior.
For Spieth, though he came up short of becoming the second player — other than five-time winner Ben Hogan — to go back-to-back at Colonial, his closing 65 was filled with other nearly converted opportunities that could have led to a victory. Spieth may not have won, but he hopes, coming off two missed cuts in a row, that it portends good things for the rest of the year.
“I could look back at the end of the year and this could have been the most important round of the year,” Spieth said. “I hope that’s the case.”