Kisner’s goal is to contend in second Masters
Kevin Kisner says he is going for a green jacket instead of trying to just make it to the weekend.
Last year in his Masters Tournament debut, the Aiken native and resident did make it to the weekend, shooting 77-72 to make the cut by a shot. He closed with 76-72 to finish in a tie for 37th.
“This year, I want to get in contention,” he said Tuesday. “To me, it doesn’t do much to finish 40th in golf tournaments. So I’m here to get in contention and maybe have a chance on Sunday. I feel great, man. The game’s good. I’ve just got to go do it now.”
Indeed, his game is right where he wants it. He led on the back nine at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in mid-March before finishing tied for second.
“I always said you can get by to get into the lead, but on the PGA Tour, once you get into the lead you’ve got to keep making birdies, and I didn’t do that on the back nine on Sunday,” he said of Bay Hill. “I had a lot of opportunities and I didn’t make the putts. It was one of those deals where you have to remember to keep your foot on the gas.”
Still, it was good to be in contention that close to the Masters.
“That’s when I thought I was going to start peaking,” Kisner said. “I told my caddie at the Honda (in late February) I thought I was about a month away, and that was about right.”
Kisner expects to play the par-5s better this year because of the work he’s put in on where to hit his third shot when he doesn’t go for the greens in two. He was 4-under on them last year.
“I know I’ve worked really hard on my wedge game,” he said. “We were talking today on certain pins you always have a certain game plan on where you want to lay up to because it’s the par-5s where you make all your bread and butter. My wedge game is so much better I feel so much more confident on certain shots.”
He says a key to putting together a good round is playing tough early holes Nos. 4, 5 and 7 in even-par.
“If you can do that, then you’re OK,” Kisner said.
The 165-pound Kisner doesn’t want the wind to blow too hard in the first two rounds, but he might not get his wish. The forecast is for winds of at least 20 mph Thursday and 25 to 30 on Friday.
“I get blown around a little bit,” he said. “If I can still feel comfortable in that much wind, I’ll be OK.”
Last year the wind was howling for the first three rounds, then settled down for the final day.
“It was so windy and so difficult,” he said. “Guys were just trying to survive.”