KEVIN KISNER (29) def. COREY CONNERS (36), 2-up
Whether it’s a dramatic comeback, dominating victory, or back-and-forth battle, Kevin Kisner deploys a variety of methods in order to advance in match play.
After Kisner won the last four holes against Adam Scott in Saturday’s Round of 16 to win the match 1-up, he jumped ahead of Will Zalatoris from the get-go and cruised to a 4-and-3 win in the Quarterfinals, setting the stage to face ball-striking maestro Corey Conners in a Sunday morning Semifinal.
In a closely contested matchup, neither player led by more than 1-up until Kisner’s conceded birdie to win the closing hole and procures a 2-up victory, moving on to face local hero Scottie Scheffler in Sunday afternoon’s Final match. Each player has prior experience in a Match Play Final; Kisner finished runner-up to Bubba Watson in 2018 before defeating Matt Kuchar in 2019, while Scheffler finished runner-up to Billy Horschel in 2021 and is hungry to make amends.
Kisner took the early edge Sunday morning with a winning birdie at the par-4 second, draining a 20-foot birdie after Conners couldn’t get his 45-foot birdie try to drop. The proud Canadian quickly bounced back with a birdie at No. 3, draining a 10-footer before Kisner’s 7-foot attempt to tie slide by. The next three holes were tied via par-par-birdie, before Kisner regained a 1-up edge via a 14-foot par-save at the par-3 seventh, as Conners flew the green with his greenside bunker shot and narrowly missed on his par-saving chip attempt.
After three more holes tied with pars, Conners tied the match in dramatic fashion with a 39-foot birdie at the par-3 11th, electrifying the Austin CC faithful. Kisner found water with his second shot at the par-5 12th, providing an opening for Conners, who two-putted for par to best Kisner’s bogey.
Kisner tied the match back up with a two-putt par at the par-4 14th, as Conners missed the green left with his second shot and then couldn’t reach the green with his chip shot, leading to bogey. After the 15th was tied with pars, Kisner had a 7-foot birdie look to take the lead on the par-5 16th, but he couldn’t get it to fall.
With the match tied on No. 17, Kisner nestled a lag putt up to tap-in range, while Conners’ birdie try from the fringe raced by the hole, leading to an 8-foot miss and bogey. Kisner once again assumed an advantage, this time to the short par-4 finishing hole, and he took advantage with a perfectly judged pitch that utilized a slope in the middle of the green, the ball rolling back to within 5 feet of the cup. When Conners’ 10-foot birdie try slid by, the hole and match were conceded to the University of Georgia alum, who aims to maintain the momentum from the Bulldogs’ recent football title and thrill the fans back in Athens, Georgia on Sunday afternoon.