When the final putt dropped at the event, Patton Kizzire picked his ball out of the hole, gave a subtle fist pump, and looked up in amazement to acknowledge the crowd that had cheered him on as he finally realized his dream of winning on the PGA Tour.
Kizzire had come close – he finished second at the Safeway Open to open the 2016-17 season and was coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes – before finally breaking through to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
“A feeling of satisfaction, really,” Kizzire said. “I’m really pleased with this past week and how I’ve been playing. A lot of the hard work has been paying off. But I’m hungry for more.”
As just about any Tour player will tell you, winning a PGA Tour event for the first time is one of the toughest tasks in golf, and Kizzire’s inaugural victory didn’t come easy. After shooting a 76 to fall out of the lead in Las Vegas, the Auburn alum bounced back to post a 64 on the very next day and finished in a tie for fourth. That momentum carried over to Mexico, where Kizzire carded a career-low round of 62.
“I figured I was going to be in the lead. So it wasn’t as if I didn’t know I was in contention,” Kizzire said. “I would say I still had to sleep on the lead a little bit. It definitely gave me some comfort knowing I had 36 chances to make birdies. There was a little bit of a comfort factor there just knowing it was going to be a marathon, not a sprint. It was an exciting day no matter what.”