PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – It seems that Patton Kizzire’s adjustment to life on the PGA Tour is going just fine.
After steamrolling through the Web.com Tour last season, Kizzire earned fully-exempt status for this season as the developmental circuit’s top earner. He missed the season’s first event to get married, but promptly opened his rookie campaign with a runner-up finish in Las Vegas and a T-4 last week in Mississippi.
That trend is continuing this week at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where Kizzire opened with a 5-under 66 to move within a shot of the early lead.
“I just have been kind of treating this as an extension of the Web.com Tour, and it just has the PGA Tour name on it,” Kizzire said. “Obviously it’s a bigger stage, but it’s just more tournaments and more opportunities to make some birdies and have some fun.”
Kizzire had 12 top-10 finishes in 23 Web.com starts last season; that consistency has carried over as the former Auburn product has now shot 67 or better in five of his first nine rounds this season.
“I’ve made putts, so that allows you to stay patient and enjoy yourself,” he said. “I’ve leaned on my putter to get me through some things, and I have had good weeks where I hit the ball well, and that’s when I’m in contention.”
Kizzire has also gained some extra early-season motivation from the flood of new PGA Tour winners. That list includes Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman and Peter Malnati, all of whom Kizzire faced at the Web.com Tour Finals last month.
“It’s encouraging,” he said. “It gives you even more belief that you can do it. So I’m excited for them, and glad that they set the bar high and I can chase them.”