Kevin Kisner didn’t know.
Kisner rolled in a four-foot par putt on the final hole of the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic on Sunday to close out a bogey-free 67, and didn’t know he was suddenly leading the tournament.
Kisner finished at 13-under 271 and didn’t know that 54-leader Geoffrey Sisk had stumbled to a double bogey on the 17th right behind him to flip-flop the lead. Sisk fell from 14 under to 12 and lost his grip on an elusive first career title.
When the 45-year old New England native failed to birdie the 72nd hole at Southpoint Golf Club, Kisner stepped into the winner’s circle for the first time in his short career.
“I didn’t know I was going to win even when I made that last putt,” he said. “I was kind of in shock. I thought I might have been one short or maybe could get into a playoff. My whole world turned upside down there in a minute.”
Kisner’s Georgia Bulldog determination had him focused during Sunday’s finale, which was essentially a three-man race that included local favorite Steve Wheatcroft, who also suffered a late double bogey to ruin any chances for his victory.
“I played solid all day. I made a lot of the 4- and 5-footers that you need to make,” said Kisner after hitting 15 of 18 greens. “I just stayed in my own game. I was as calm as I’ve ever been in that situation, which is odd considering this was probably the biggest stage I’ve ever been on. I didn’t look at a board all day.”
If he had looked, he would have seen Sisk’s name holding steady at the top with Wheatcroft in hot pursuit.
“I thought I had to get to 15 under today to have a chance,” said Kisner. “That was my goal.”
After three straight 3-under 68s, Kisner’s four-birdie effort Sunday was all he needed to collect the $108,000 winner’s check that vaulted him from No. 50 to No. 14 on the money list. The 25 leading money winners at the end of the season will earn their PGA Tour cards for the 2011 season.
“This game is so much about winning and you have to beat 155 great players in order to have a chance,” said Kisner, who is in his first full season on Tour. “This is pretty special.”
The day and week appeared to belong to Sisk, who shared the first-day lead and held two-stroke advantages after the second and third days. Sisk temporarily lost possession of the lead when Kisner birdied the short, par-3 14th hole, but regained a share of the lead with a birdie of his own.
Two holes later, Sisk took back the outright lead with a birdie at No. 16. Then, disaster struck at the 367-yard 17th when Sisk yanked a pitching wedge from the middle of the fairway into a back bunker.
“I overcooked it on 17,” he said. “I was trying to hit it right and I shut it down and pulled it left. I was dead.”
Facing a perilous downhill bunker shot on a slick green, Sisk blasted it back across the green for his third. His chip shot for par came up 18 feet short and two putts later, the lead was gone.
“I played well. I have no complaints,” said Sisk, who was solo second for his best career finish.
Chris Nallen closed with a 5-under 66 and wound up at 10-under 274, tied for third place with Wheatcroft, who closed with a birdie for an even-par 71 to match his career-best effort.
Patrick Sheehan (67) finished fifth, four back of Kisner and Dicky Pride (68) was alone in sixth, five shots behind the winning total.
Fourth-Round Notes: Kevin Kisner’s win gives the University of Georgia Bulldogs back-to-back wins on the Nationwide Tour. Chris Kirk, a college teammate of Kisner, won last week’s Knoxville News Sentinel Open. The two played together for three years at Georgia and were both members of the Dawgs’ 2005 NCAA Championship team. … The last time two players from the same university won in consecutive weeks on the Nationwide Tour was in 2004 when three Georgia players captured tournaments in successive weeks: Franklin Langham at the Fort Smith Classic, Ryuji Imada at the BMW Charity Pro-Am and Justin Bolli at the Chattanooga Classic.
Jeff Curl set the tournament-course record with an 8-under 63. Curl opened with four straight birdies and finished with 10 on the day, including three on his final four holes. The 63 also matches his career-low round, a second-round 63 at the 2008 Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. Curl’s rally got him to 5 under for the tournament and a tie for 14th place. … Chris Nallen shot a back-nine 31 for a 5-under 66 and a 10-under 274 total. Nallen’s fourth top-10 and seventh top-25 finish was worth $34,800 and helped him move up from No. 20 to No. 16 on the money list. Nallen has made the cut in 15 of his 18 starts and the last eight in a row. … Geoffrey Sisk’s runner-up finish moved him from No. 87 to No. 37 on the money list with eight events left. … Dicky Pride was solo sixth this week and earned enough money to jump from No. 28 to No. 22 on the money list.