KAPALUA, Hawaii – As a first-timer at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Kevin Kisner had to quickly learn the nuances of the Plantation Course this week.
Kisner, who won the RSM Classic in November for his breakthrough victory, arrived early in Maui to learn the course and the newness didn’t seem to impact his play with opening rounds of 69-65 for a share of second place.
“Everybody talks about the grain [on the greens],” he said. “I don't see it that bad on the greens as much as I do, like hitting wedges from the fairway.
“I have a hard time - I can't figure out if I need to be more shallow or steeper or ... hopefully my coach is watching and he can tell me tonight.”
The biggest challenge may have been playing with Bubba Watson on Friday, “it’s two totally different golf courses for us,” said Kisner, who ranks 61st this season in driving distance on the PGA Tour.
That disparity between the two players off the tee didn’t stop Kisner from holding his ground against the big-hitting southpaw late on Day 2.
“I smoked it by Bubba on 17, look it up,” he smiled. “And I talked trash all the way down. Then he hit it by me 70 [yards] at [No.] 18.”
For the record, Kisner’s drive at No. 17 traveled 403 yards and Watson’s 369 yards.