WINS IN DRAMATIC FASHION!”
Bermuda Run, N.C. – Kevin Kisner entered the final round of the Bermuda Run Open on Friday nursing a two-shot lead over Jason Kokrak and Roberto Castro and eyeing the second Tarheel Tour title of his career. While players with final-round leads dream of birdies to put titles out of reach, sometimes a streak of pars is enough to wake a champion up, and that is exactly what happened to Kisner. A nine-hole stretch of frustrating pars were quickly put to bed when Kisner drained a 16-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Kokrak and claim his first Tarheel Tour title of the 2008 season.
Paired together in the day’s final grouping, Kisner’s slow start gave him a front row seat to watch Kokrak’s final-round charge. As the former University of Georgia All-American was recording two-putt pars and nice up and downs, Kokrak was erasing deficits. Birdies on the par-5 fourth and the par-5 sixth brought the native of Warren, OH to the top of the leaderboard, tied with Kisner. Matching birdies on the narrow par-5 10th kept the two level before Kisner recorded back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12, thus sparking a thought in his head while two down.
“(At that point) I didn’t feel any pressure because I was the one chasing. There is no need to feel pressure when you are behind, which I was most of the day.”
Perhaps that instant sense of relaxation triggered something in Kisner, who at that point found himself in a head-to-head, match play type of battle – something he has had past success in. Kisner claimed the 2007 Tarheel Tour Match Play Championship by refusing to give in and in turn wearing down his opponents. That spark allowed for birdies at 13 and 15, which, placed against a Kokrak birdie at the par-4 14th, left Kisner one down with three to play.
One down with three holes to play conjures up images of heroic shots and Tiger-like charges, but for Kisner, the first result was a disappointing bogey at the watery par-3 16th – two down with two to play.
“I thought I was going to have to finish eagle-birdie to get in a playoff,” said Kisner, who grew up in Aiken, SC, where he just finished building his first house.
The break Kisner was eyeing for the better part of four hours would finally come at the par-5 17th. After hitting his tee shot a bit left, Kisner hit a miraculous 3-iron from 240 yards which hooked roughly 30 yards around a patch of trees, snaked its way between bunkers fronting the green, and nestled itself 30 feet behind the hole. While Kokrak, who is known for his prodigious length, played to the percentages with an iron off the tee and eventually a par on the hole, Kisner seized what would be a crucial moment of the day.
“As soon as I read my eagle putt I knew it was going in. I just saw the line perfectly.”
Without a single doubt in his mind, Kisner drained the eagle putt on the 53rd green to regain his spot atop the leaderboard alongside Kokrak. When both players recorded routine pars at the par-4 18th, it was off to extra holes to decide the champion.
Kokrak’s approach to the par-4 first just missed the green while Kisner’s second shot wound up 16 feet from the hole. As Kokrak’s chip curled up to a foot from the hole, Kisner finally had control again and the tournament in the palm of his hand. There was never a doubt. Kisner’s birdie putt went in for the title and allowed for a fantastic 2008 season to continue.
Kisner collected the first-place check for $16,500 and chalked up another finish that has him batting for the cycle this year. In five starts so far, he has a win, a T2, aT3 and a T4 finish. Earnings of just under $45,000 thus far should go a long way to help pay for that new house.
Kokrak collected $8,500 for his runner-up finish, but more importantly, the confidence to know that he can win on the Tarheel Tour. After qualifying for the 2007 U.S. Open as an amateur, expectations were high for Kokrak, but reality was slow in 2008 with missed cuts in his first three starts on Tour. A T3 finish at the Cabarrus Classic four weeks ago put him back on track and today’s finish should certainly keep him there.
2007 Spring Creek Classic champion Roberto Castro birdied 17 and 18 to finish solo third and earn $6,800. Tommy Biershenk and John McAllister finished tied for fourth.
Defending champion Scott Brown finished the week tied for eighth and proved there must be something in the water down in the greater Aiken area. Brown is from nearby North Augusta, SC and claims Kisner as one of his good friends.
“I’m thrilled to win this event, especially one year after Scott won here at Bermuda Run,” said Kisner, who is headed next to Memphis, TN for sectional U.S. Open qualifying and a chance to tee it up at Torrey Pines.
The Tarheel Tour would like to thank Director of Golf Brian Vest, Head Professional Daniel Burd and their staff for their help in making this a successful tournament. A special thanks also goes to Head Golf Course Superintendent Dennis Boucvher and his crew for presenting a wonderful venue on which to contest the Bermuda Run Open.
The Tarheel Tour will take next week off before starting back with the Warrior Classic at Warrior Golf Club in China Grove, NC on June 10-12.
Bermuda Run Country Club
Bermuda Run, N.C.
Final Round Results
Main – Par-72; 7,080 yards
West – Par-70; 6,625 yards
1. x-Kevin Kisner, Aiken, SC, $16,500.00, *65-68-70-203 -11
2. Jason Kokrak, Bradenton Beach, FL, $8,500.00, *69-66-68-203 -11
3. Roberto Castro, Alpharetta, GA, $6,800.00, *71-64-70-205 -9
4. Tommy Biershenk, Boiling Springs, SC, $4,950.00, *70-68-68-206 -8
4. John Mc Allister, Spartanburg, SC, $4,950.00, *69-69-68-206 -8
6. David Robinson, Sandersville, GA, $3,700.00, *71-67-69-207 -7
7. Elliot Gealy, Sanford, FL, $3,000.00, *68-70-70-208 -6
8. Scotty Jones, Charlotte, NC, $2,270.00, *72-70-67-209 -5
8. Joel Hendry, Bluffton, SC, $2,270.00, *66-73-70-209 -5
8. Kevin Larsen, Santa Barbara, CA, $2,270.00, *68-69-72-209 -5
8. Kevin Silva, Charlotte, NC, $2,270.00, *69-69-71-209 -5
8. Scott Brown, North Augusta, SC, $2,270.00, *68-70-71-209 -5
13. Luke List, Reston, VA, $1,800.00, *72-71-67-210 -4
13. Richard Scott, St Simons Island, GA, $1,800.00, *69-73-68-210 -4
13. Jhared Hack, Sanford, FL, $1,800.00, *75-68-67-210 -4
16. Nathan Smith, $1,675.00, *68-70-73-211 -3
16. Drew Bowen, Monroe, GA, $1,675.00, *70-68-73-211 -3
18. Matt Mincer, Lenoir City, TN, $1,475.00, *71-71-70-212 -2
18. Andy Morse, Auburn, ME, $1,475.00, *71-70-71-212 -2
18. Blake Adams, Eatonton, GA, $1,475.00, *70-70-72-212 -2
18. Justin Regier, East Amherst, NY, $1,475.00, *70-70-72-212 -2
18. Tommy Gibson, Pilot Mountain, NC, $1,475.00, *66-72-74-212 -2
18. Scott Stallings, Oak Bridge, TN, $1,475.00, *69-69-74-212 -2
24. Josh Teater, Lexington, KY, $1,237.50, *70-72-71-213 -1
24. Scott Weatherly, Fort Payne, AL, $1,237.50, *72-70-71-213 -1
24. Jay Haas, Greenville, SC, $1,237.50, *75-68-70-213 -1
24. Brian Duncan, Mt. Pleasant, SC, $1,237.50, *72-70-71-213 -1
24. Jason Martin, Lenoir, NC, $1,237.50, *71-70-72-213 -1
24. Jonathan Mount, Kingston, TN, $1,237.50, *73-68-72-213 -1
30. Paul Brown, Hartsville, SC, $1,062.50, *75-68-71-214 E
30. Bryan Jones, Marietta , GA, $1,062.50, *74-69-71-214 E
30. Bryant MacKellar, Roswell, GA, $1,062.50, *70-73-71-214 E
30. Fernando Mechereffe, Charlotte, NC, $1,062.50, *69-73-72-214 E
30. Chris Gallagher, West Chester, PA, $1,062.50, *74-67-73-214 E
30. Jeff Curl, Ellington, CT, $1,062.50, *73-68-73-214 E
30. Dane Burkhart, Aiken, SC, $1,062.50, *68-72-74-214 E
30. Kevin Haefner, Auburn, AL, $1,062.50, *71-69-74-214 E
38. D.J Fiese, Roswell, GA, $925.00, *70-73-72-215 +1
38. Michael Sims, West Palm Beach, FL, $925.00, *70-72-73-215 +1
38. Chris Walsh, Charlotte, NC, $925.00, *72-69-74-215 +1
41. Dustin Bray, Charlotte, NC, $875.00, *72-68-76-216 +2
42. Alex Hamilton, Aiken, SC, $825.00, *71-71-75-217 +3
42. Adam Hart, Blythewood, SC, $825.00, *74-67-76-217 +3
42. Matthew McQuillan , Canada, $825.00, *70-70-77-217 +3
45. Shaun Norris, South Africa, $650.00, *71-70-78-219 +5
45. Allen Tuttle, Arthur, TN, $650.00, *71-70-78-219 +5
47. Soo Ahn, Morrisville, NC, $500.00, *73-69-79-221 +7