For the first four years of his PGA Tour career, Kevin Kisner was just another journeyman, part of a young crew of players from South Carolina trying to make their way in golf's toughest competition.
Four days at the 2015 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing - and, less than a month later, Sunday at The Players - went a long way toward changing that.
Kisner, a native of Aiken, contended the entire week at Harbour Town Golf Links, home to South Carolina's only annual PGA Tour event. In Sunday's final round, the 31-year-old made a late run capped by a closing birdie at Harbour Town's iconic 18th hole to catch leader and past Heritage winner Jim Furyk, forcing a two-hole playoff.
Furyk captured his second Heritage tile, but Kisner came away with more than the runner-up's check of $637,200, he said. "I hit every shot just like I wanted to coming down the stretch, and that's all you could ever ask for."
Three weeks later, Kisner got a second shot at a victory at The Players in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He lost - again in sudden death - to Rickie Fowler but impressed NBC-TV golf analyst Johnny Miller. "Kisner is looking like a star in the making," Miller said.
Kisner joined the PGA Tour in 2011, and played on the Web.com Tour, where he won twice (2010, 2013). Through 2014, he had PGA Tour career earnings of $1,577,064; he surpassed that total in 2015 by mid-May.
The former University of Georgia player lives in Aiken with wife Brittany and daughter Kathleen. He loves the drive each April to Hilton Head and having home-state fans cheer for him.
"The S.C. Junior Golf Association has 20 guys who have either played in the tournament or are playing," he said. "We grew up playing each other ... so we're familiar with each other. We're all buddies."
Still, no other SC player has come closer to capturing South Carolina's tournament than Kisner.
Bio: Graduated University of Georgia, 2006; played the Web.com Tour six years, winning twice.
Highlights: Member of Georgia's 2005 NCAA national championship team; twice finished in Web.com's top 13 (2011, 2013) to regain PGA Tour status each time.
Where I play: "In the Lowcountry, I like Secession and Chechessee Creek; at Hilton Head, it's Long Cove Club and Harbour Town. I really love those courses because they show off the Lowcountry so well. At home, Palmetto Golf Club is my favorite in the state, by far; it's my home course. I've never found a course I fell in love with in Myrtle Beach or the Upstate. I stay around Aiken or go to Charleston, Beaufort or Hilton Head."
Where I eat: "In Aiken and in Greenville, TakoSushi is probably my favorite. It's a Mexican-Asian mix, where you can get either or both. My wife and I like Prime Steak House for a nice dinner. In Charleston, she worked at (The Medical University of South Carolina), so we've eaten at all the places there: Grill 225, 82 Queen, Fig. My favorite ‘dive joint' is Poe's on Sullivan's Island, named for Edgar Allen Poe; he based his story ‘The Gold Bug' there."
What I do for fun: "Fishing. I love to go into the inlets in the Lowcountry. My brother lives in Horatio and we go to Duck Bottom to hunt quail. Plus it's got a 40-acre duck pond and 1,500 acres of land on the Wateree River. I love to be outside, hunting, swimming or just hanging out on a boat."