After starting the day five strokes behind 54-hole leader Webb Simpson, Spieth had birdies on the first two holes before a nearly 20-footer lipped out at the 453-yard No. 3 hole. He also just missed a 12-footer at No. 9, and a 25-footer at the 446-yard 12th hole rolled over the left edge of the cup, and had another near-miss on a 12-footer at No. 17.
Kisner blew a three-stroke lead at the turn on the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and lost by a stroke. He made a nearly 95-foot chip-in for eagle to get him and fellow Aiken, South Carolina, resident Scott Brown into playoff at the Zurich Classic’s new team format before losing on the fourth playoff hole.
At Colonial, an unexpected 40-foot birdie putt at the 404-yard 10th hole started Kisner’s back-nine push.
“It was a difficult putt just to two-putt. It fell in on the lost roll,” he said. “That kind of gets those juices flowing.”
When he made a 10-foot birdie at No. 12, Kisner was 10 under — no other player reached that mark. Only one other time since 1999 was Colonial’s winning score higher than 11 under, in 2014 when Adam Scott won in a playoff after shooting 9 under in regulation.
After a 14-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th, Kisner had a two-stroke lead. That was the same hole where Spieth, playing two groups ahead of him, punctuated an 11-foot birdie putt with a fist pump.
“I didn’t do any scoreboard watching and really thought I needed to get to 11 under,” Spieth said. “I hit so many great putts today. I hit a bad putt on 17. It was pretty frustrating.”
About the same time Kisner made a bogey at the par-3 16th, Spieth was hitting his drive way right at the 18th hole and went on to save par after a chip to 5 feet. Kisner hit a similar drive, and also saved par.
Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open winner, was the 54-hole leader by two strokes, but started the final round with an unusual bogey at the par-5 first hole. His only birdie came at No. 9, and he bogeyed the 18th when he drove into the left rough after Kisner had already posted his final putt. Simpson had a 71 to finish fifth at 8 under.