Kisner needs to attack Augusta National's par-5 holes if he hopes to succeed

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John Boyette, Aiken Standard, S.C.
·3 min read
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Apr. 7—AUGUSTA — If Kevin Kisner wants to succeed at this week's Masters Tournament, he'll need to attack the longest holes at Augusta National Golf Club.

At 7,475 yards, Augusta National is a stern test for medium-length hitters like Kisner. His strengths are his putting and short game, and Augusta National is expected to play "fast" this week with warm weather and no rain leading into the tournament.

A firmer course can help Kisner gain some length on the course's longer holes.

"The golf course, to me, there's par holes and birdie holes," the 37-year-old Kisner said. "If I can limit the amount of bogeys on the holes that are really brutal for me, and make sure I take care of the par 5s, then I can compete. If I don't, then I'm around even par every day."

Kisner's best Masters finish is a tie for 21st in 2019. In 18 competitive rounds, his best score is 3-under-par 69.

If he's going to improve those areas, the par-5 holes will be the key. Getting home in two on Nos. 2 (downhill) and 13 (shortest of the four) isn't an issue but reaching Nos. 8 (570 yards uphill) and 15 (guarded by water) is more problematic.

"I definitely need to get 2 and 13 every day, and then 15 is so dependent on how far you have in and where the flag is," Kisner said. "Some days it's OK to make par there depending on the conditions. And then 8, I just can't get to 8. So I have to hit a really good wedge shot or pitch shot up there to have a good look."

Statistics show that Kisner has played each of Augusta National's four par-5 holes under par in 18 competitive rounds. His best performance has been on No. 13 (12 under), followed by No. 15 (7 under), No. 8 (6 under) and No. 2 (5 under).

Kisner is a cumulative 30-under par on the par-5 holes. He's 13 over on the four par-3 holes and 32 over on the 10 par-4 holes.

Kisner played Augusta National's second nine with fellow Georgia Bulldogs Brian Harman and Brendon Todd on Wednesday. He predicts that the winning score will be in the 10- to 12-under range, and "you'll see some more interesting shots than November."

He normally would have played in the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday with his kids as caddies, but the event was canceled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.

"I've got old enough kids to really enjoy it now," Kisner said. "My oldest is coming out tomorrow. She thinks she's going to walk and watch. We'll see how far she makes it."

Kisner warmed up for the Masters by bringing fellow Masters participants Harman and Viktor Hovland to play his home course of Palmetto Golf Club over the weekend.

"We had a great time," Kisner said. "(Hovland) made like nine birdies in 15 holes and beat my brains in on my home track."