Gil LeBreton

On this day, Kisner made a name for himself at Colonial

Kevin Kisner, hitting out of a bunker on the fifth hole Sunday, had a blast “being the best Kevin Kisner I can be.”
Kevin Kisner, hitting out of a bunker on the fifth hole Sunday, had a blast “being the best Kevin Kisner I can be.” rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

If you had “Kevin Kisner” in your Colonial fantasy golf pool, please collect your earnings ... and consider another line of work immediately.

The Psychic Hotline needs you.

Kevin Kisner? Really?

Let us review:

Turned professional in 2006. Lost tour card twice. Finally won a PGA Tour event nine years and 109 starts later — the fall RSM Classic in his home state of Georgia.

His best finish in a major was a tie for 12th at the 2015 U.S. Open. So he had that going for him, at least.

But gunga-galunga! Who saw this coming?

Clearly, not the thousands who traversed the Colonial grounds Sunday, vocally pulling for home area favorite Jordan Spieth.

Though Kisner quipped after the victory ceremony, “I thought they were pulling for me,” he had to know better.

When Kisner bogeyed No. 16 in Sunday’s final round, shaving his lead to a single stroke, cheers echoed.

A tad rude, perhaps, but understandable.

Spieth was among a wide and credentialed group that chased Kisner to the finish. Spieth won last year’s Colonial and, at age 23, already has Masters and U.S. Open titles under his belt. Jon Rahm is roundly viewed as the future of European golf. Third-round leader Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open in 2012.

And Kevin Kisner? He was the guy Sunday who wouldn’t get out of the way.

Yeah, it’s never easy on this tour. Guys always seem to make birdies.

Colonial champion Kevin Kisner

As they headed toward the finish line, a five-man playoff wasn’t out of the question.

“Guys were making runs all around,” Kisner said after his final-round 66. “Yeah, it’s never easy on this tour. Guys always seem to make birdies.

“I’ve been in this position a ton, and one thing I always take away is you just got to keep making birdies and basically look up when you can’t make any more.”

A ton? Well, it’s true that Kisner has managed to get into playoffs four times in his career, losing all four. But most of the post-tournament media attention Sunday centered around his long trek to find a foothold on the PGA Tour.

“Yeah, you start questioning if you’re going to win again after a while,” he said. “Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win. Then I win, and everybody questions if I was ever going to win again.”

Therein lay the difference Sunday. Few seemed to know Kevin Kisner, and even less expected him to survive and win.

I’ve had a great career. If my career ended tomorrow, I’d be content with where I was.

Two-time tour winner Kevin Kisner

The Wall of Champions at Colonial Country Club is etched with the names of many of golf’s greatest. Hogan. Snead. Palmer. Nicklaus. Trevino.

And Spieth.

Finally, it seems, there will be a name on the wall that replaces “Keith Clearwater” in the Who’s He category.

While Spieth was fielding questions Sunday about his chances in the upcoming Memorial tournament and the U.S. Open, Kisner was in the media area being asked to assess his own modest career.

“I’ve had a great career,” he said. “If my career ended tomorrow, I’d be content with where I was.

“If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d have two PGA Tour wins by 2017, I’d have taken it. So I’m just going to keep working … and being the best Kevin Kisner I can be.”

A toast, therefore, has to go to the Colonial champion that nobody expected.

Listed as 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, even Kisner’s newly won plaid jacket seemed to not quite fit him. For the record, he wears a 38 Regular.

Colonial has a whole year to find his size. And etch his name on the wall, a reminder of the weekend when Kevin Kisner was the best he could be.

Gil LeBreton: @gilebreton

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