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Clean, Old Fashioned Match Play: Just Like Football

PGA: WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play - Final Round Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

You may have already seen Dawg Sports previewing golf’s version of March Madness. And Sunday was not only the culmination of the final four in NCAA basketball, but also for the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. While most of us are really ticked at UNC and UK for not doing their one job, we can be proud of a Bulldog in his bracket.

UGA grad and proud Bulldog alum Kevin Kisner took home the trophy in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. Kiz played in the finals last year, succumbing to a red-hot Bubba Watson in the final match. But this time the boy from Aiken was not to be denied.

Having lost his first match Wednesday, Kisner defeated Tony Finau 2up Thursday, then followed up Friday with a win over fellow Athenian Keith Mitchell 2&1. Forced into a playoff, he emerged victorious over the match play genius Ian Poulter, and advanced to the knockout round.

Building on the momentum, Kisner dispatched Chinese golfer HaoTong Li in short order (6&5, which is a rout) Saturday morning in the Round of 16. In the afternoon, he came out on top against the previously unbeaten Louis Oosthuizen 2&1 in a back-and-forth affair.

Sunday morning would present an even tougher task... Francesco Molinari. The Italian won the Open Championship last July, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March, and honestly playing the best golf of anyone through this WGC event. The Kiz is a grinder, not afraid of anybody, and he took Molinari down to the wire, ultimately winning the match on the 18th and final hole.

That put Kevin Kisner into the Sunday afternoon finals, against the affable Matt Kuchar, also a match play aficionado. And did I mention Kuchar famously went to Georgia Tech, claiming All-American status all four years?

But as you now know, Kisner wouldn’t let a college rivalry or anything else distract him from the task at hand. Winning the first hole with a birdie, he never relinquished his stranglehold on the lead. Sinking key par putt after key par putt, he forced the normally reliable Kuchar into taking chances and making loose swings. Both are known for driving and crisp iron play. Kisner made Kuchar scramble all afternoon long. Winning the 15th hole with a par, The Kiz was dormie** for the last three holes - forcing Kuchar to have to win each of them in order to prolong the match into extra holes.

That was simply too tall a task for the former Yellow Jacket, and probably just about any other golfer. Being a bit out of position on the 16th, Kisner drains about a 20 footer to kill any hope of a comeback and to claim the championship. So we may not know what time it is in Texas, other than time for a Bulldog to win another golf tournament.

With the win, Kisner claims his 3rd PGA Tour victory, wins $1,745,000, gains entry into any tournament he wants the next year or so, and cements his status as unflappable and a true Bulldog. Or as we like to say, a Damn Good ‘Dawg. Congrats to Kisner, and as always...


**Being ahead in a match the same number of holes as there are left to play in a match. Forcing the opponent to have to win each hole or lose the match.