Saturday, July 12, 2014

John Deere Classic - Rounds One and Two

We survived. After opening with a solid first day, we struggled a bit on Friday but found a way to get it in and will be playing the weekend. Thursday's first round had five birdies with one double bogey for a three under (68). It was a solid ball striking day with the possibilities of really going low. Solid putts that were rolling down his intended lines just wouldn't fall as he kept giving himself birdie opportunities throughout day. One lone bad shot on the par four, fourth, put us in a tough position. Two chips and two putts later, we walked off with a double. Grinding hard, he came right back hitting an eight iron to three feet on the very next hole to get the momentum right back. His three under total finished the day in a tie for 24th.

Friday's round picked up right where we left off as Kevin started the day with a birdie. Gusty, windy conditions during the afternoon made the late tee times play difficult but we managed an even par front nine. A few loose shots starting on 10 had us fighting to hang around. Two bogeys with wedges and one drive into a fairway bunker had us two over for the day thru 15 and one shot outside the cut number with three to play. Kevin didn't panic and finished the day making five great swings over the last three holes. An eight iron to 15 feet on the par three 16th, two perfect shots on the par five 17th, and a perfect drive and nine iron to 12 feet on 18. He was only able to get one birdie over the closing three holes but it was good enough to get us to the weekend.

With storms forecasted for Saturday, the Tour moved tee times between 9:50 - 11:50 off of the first and tenth tees. I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm but it looks like its moving out and we should still be going off on time today. Our tee time is 11:50 off number 10 with Chad Campbell and Derek Ernst.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Greenbrier Classic

It was a tough week at The Greenbrier. Even though we managed an even par round on Thursday, we really didn't do anything good. The misses were both ways (right and left) and the short game was awful (5 for 15). Kevin is good enough to get things done when one is off but when both the ball striking and short game are off, it's almost impossible.

Thursday's round was up and down with five bogeys and five birdies but I was extremely proud about how he finished. Struggling early in the round and over par, Kevin showed some guts and fought hard making three birdies coming in to shoot even par (70). That finish kept us in the tournament and looking forward to Friday. Unfortunately, we couldn't getting done on Friday. Missed up and downs and wayward tee shots had us fighting most of the day. We finished the day at five over and had the weekend off.

This was the first of two weeks that Geraldine and the kids are out on the road with me. We stayed in Roanoke, VA this week and had a blast. We were able to do some sightseeing, take in the caverns, go to a water park, play some golf and see an amazing July 4th fireworks show. On top of that, we were able to spend some time with my old college roommate, Lou Masini. We don't get to see each other much so it was nice to have dinner and catch up.

This week, we are in Moline, IL for the John Deere Classic. The family and I flew up yesterday (Monday) and I will meet Kevin today for our practice round. Kevin went home after the Greenbrier and put a work day in yesterday with his instructor at home. With only four events left on the schedule for us and sitting 117 on the FedEx list, it's time to take care of business.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quicken Loans National - 2nd and 3rd Round

Friday's second round was just what we needed. Teeing off early, Kevin was able to take advantage of the conditions and shot a great round of three under (68). For the day, there were only six rounds better and his round moved us well inside the cut line to t-40th after two rounds.

Today's third round started right where we left off on Friday; hitting fairways and greens. Unfortunately, two early birdies were voided by two early three putts and we were even par through five holes. A hooked 8 iron into the par five 6th put us in a bad spot and then two missed up and downs later, we walked off with a double bogey.  Making the turn at two over, things didn't get much better on the back nine putting up three 6's on the card. The first 6 (double) came on 11 after a hooked tee shot led to a chip out. From there, we missed the green with an 8 iron and failed to get that up and down. The next 6 (bogey) came on the par 5 - 16th. After laying it up in the rough, we couldn't find the green. Another missed up and down led to another six. The final 6 (double) came on 18. The second shot (another 8 iron) hooked into the water hazard and another missed up and down after the drop near the green. The final nine (40) left us at seven over par for the day (78) and backing up all the way to 74th place.

Although we were ten shots higher today, we hit the same amount of fairways (8/14) and only two less greens (11/18) from Fridays second round. The biggest difference today was on and around the greens. Those two early three putts along with the missed up and downs throughout the day was the difference. After the round, we spent our entire practice session chipping and putting. We have nothing to loss tomorrow (74th out of 75 players) but know a good solid round will still go a long way. Every FedEx point matters and every position we can move up will help get those extra valuable FedEx points needed to secure his card for next year. I'm looking forward to getting out there early and seeing what we can do. We tee off tomorrow at 8:36 with Jason Bohn.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quicken Loans National - First Round

We just didn't have it today. Only hitting half the fairways 7/14) and half the greens (9/18) it was a tough day to score. Congressional is playing long with high, thick rough so ball striking is at a premium. Sitting at five over par through 11 holes, the ball striking started to turn around as Kevin hit the last five fairways and five of his last seven greens. We managed to finish the round at four over (75) and we were only a few putts away from shooting a respectable score. But, as bad as the score may sound, we are still in the tournament with a solid round tomorrow. With the course playing difficult, two over par (73) is tied for 62nd place. Anything under par tomorrow will have us playing the weekend.

After the round, we had a range session and then called it a day. We tee off tomorrow morning at 7:12 so it will be an early wake up call. Good night all.

Update - Memphis, US Open, Baby Kate

Once again, I've failed to blog for an entire month and it has been an exciting month. After qualifying for the US Open on the Monday of Memphis, we had a long week filled with weather delays. Kevin played well considering having so much on his mind that week. With weather delays threatening to push the tournament into a Monday finish, it was hard to maintain focus not knowing how it would all work out. A few loose shots finishing our round on Sunday led to a couple doubles but, all in all, it was a solid week. Happy we were done, Kevin hopped on a plane and headed home for the birth of their child.

Kathleen Grace "Kate" was born Monday afternoon (June 9th) at 2:49pm. Everything went well and everyone was doing fine. Kevin stayed in Aiken until Tuesday night and then drove over to Pinehurst for the US Open. We met up Wednesday morning and worked a little with JT on the range before our practice round. I rolled into town Tuesday morning and spent the day doing course work. The golf course was playing extremely firm and fast and shots landing on the front edge to five yards onto the green were releasing all the way to the middle of the greens. Our keys for the week was all about where we wanted to land each shot on the green, patience, and a solid short game. Unfortunately, an afternoon storm rolled in on Wednesday and we were called off the course after only 12 holes.

We ended up missing the cut but it was still a solid experience. I feel Kevin learned a lot of competing in his first US Open and the experience will only help him in his future major championships. The US Open was our fifth week in a row on the road and with a new baby, he decided to take Hartford off. It was nice to get away from the game and he had a great week being a dad.

This week we are at the Congressional in Washington, DC for the Quicken Loans National. We met Tuesday and had two solid days of practice. We tee off today at 12:12 with Russell Knox and Robert Streb.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Memorial - Final Round / US Open Qualifier

It has been a great couple of days. Kevin worked through the bad feeling he had with his golf swing on Saturday and had a few great rounds on the golf course both Sunday and Monday. Muirfield was playing firm and fast on Sunday but once again he showed patience and a solid short game. Both of these were tested late in the day as his wedge flew into the flagstick on the par five 15th and ricocheted off the green, down a slope, 15 yards away into a difficult position. But he was able to get it up and down to save par. The very next hole, par three 16th, our tee shot found the water but he walks up to the drop zone and was able to get that up and down from 120 yards to save the bogey. As most players would have just packed it in after those two shots, Kevin once again showed his maturity and grind it out. We finished the day with a birdie on 17 and shot a nice round of three under (69) finishing T-46th. But more important, his finish gained us those extra valuable FedEx points and we moved up two spots on the list to 103rd.

Because we had to be in Memphis for the 36 hole US Open qualifier in just over 12 hours; Kevin decided to fly private using his new sponsor, Wheels Up, and brought me along for the ride. I do have to say it was one of the coolest experiences in my 44 year life. Little did I know, it was only about to get better!!

I met Kevin at the golf course about 7am Monday morning. I was joking with Kiz telling him it was a bit of an anniversary for us because it was here in Memphis at Colonial Country club in 2008 where we first met. I was caddying for Doug LaBelle and we showed up to play a practice round. We went to the first tee and Kevin was standing there with his good friend Mike Hostilo waiting to play their practice round. We ended up playing two rounds together, striking up a good friendship, and now six years later, I'm back carrying his bag. Can you say fate???

Since I save all my old yardage books, without any practice rounds and not being back here since 2008, all we had to lean on were my old notes from those books. We started on the "tougher" South course with some on and off drizzling rain. With 145 players trying for 13 spots, I knew if we just managed our way around and gave Kevin plenty of birdie looks, we would do fine. An early three putt bogey was washed away with three straight birdies on 7, 8 and 9 making the turn at two under. One more bogey and two birdies on the back had us shooting three under (69) for the first round. We had only 20 minutes before round two so we had a quick lunch. When I took a look at the scores, I saw that there was only one score better then ours on the South course. With all the other low scores on the North course, I knew we where in perfect position. Starting on 10, Kevin birdied 10, 12 and 16 getting us to six under through 27 holes. Another nice birdie on the par three 2nd as the rain started and then another birdie during a torrential downpour on the very next hole put us in the drivers seat. The rain finally stopped and the winds laid down for the final five holes but now we had to deal with mud balls. One more birdie with a bogey coming in had us shooting five under (66) for an eight under total for 36 holes. Eight under was good enough for T-3rd and a trip to THE US OPEN.

Completely worn out, it took awhile for it all to sink in. Having one of my biggest accomplishments in my playing career occurring at Pinehurst #2, winning the 1992 North South Amateur, I am excited to be heading back to a place that means so much to me. Having to play nine rounds of golf in six days during that week in 1992, I leaned on my bother/caddy, Darrell, to get me through. I would have never won that Championship without his help. Now, to be going back as a caddy, I just hope I can do as good of a job as he did 22 years ago. 

As for Baby Kiz, Brittany and Kevin had a plan in place just in case we qualified for the US Open. Brittany and the baby are doing well, so if Baby Kiz does not arrive this week, they have scheduled an appointment to induce Monday morning. If Baby Kiz decides to come this week, Kevin and I have our plan worked out and we will get him home. It's definitely an exciting time for the Kisner family. Please keep them in your prayers.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Memorial - Third Round

Tough sledding today. During the warm up, Kevin hit it well and talking with him throughout the warm up he felt much better today. A solid up and down on one and then a chip in birdie on two had us under par early. A hooked hybrid off the tee on three led to a bogey after chipping back out to the fairway but two more birdies on the par fives had us back under par (-2) through 8 holes.

Here is when things start to go south. After a nice drive on nine, a blocked wedge to the right of the green started a streak of ten straight missed greens in regulation. Not all were bad shots and not all were from the fairway but we still missed 10 in a row. The common thread was right. When we did miss the fairway, it was missed to the right. Then when we hit one off line from the fairway, it was also to the right. And wouldn't you know, when we did hit a solid shot on line, the distance was wrong. Add this all up, we shoot 34-42=76 for the day. Only hitting four greens all day, I guess the positive is that his short game was pretty solid. He chipped in twice and had some great up and downs. So, it could have been worse. The one over par total puts us in T-60th heading into the final round.

After the round, we once again hit the range and worked on things. We tee off tomorrow morning at 8:54 with Billy Hurley. As soon as we finish, we will be heading off to Memphis, TN for our US Open 36 hole qualifier on Monday.