Except for the sudden-death playoff finish this morning, this is what organizers of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans had in mind when they decided to bring two-man team competition back to the PGA Tour.
Down almost literally to the last shot of a long, wet day, Kevin Kisner holed a 94-foot pitch shot for an eagle on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana on Sunday to send himself and partner Scott Brown into a playoff against Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt, who had to believe they were a moment away from winning.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 1, 2017
It was a spectacular moment to cap a different week on Tour. Team competition, generally limited to the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, seemed to find a popular landing spot for players, who offered an abundance of praise for the format.
On a day that began with Kisner and Brown birdieing their first eight holes and 10 of their first 11 to roar back from a four-stroke deficit, it looked as if Smith and Blixt would win after taking a one-stroke lead with a birdie at the par-3 17th hole.
On the par-5 finishing hole, Smith hit a brilliant pitch from a scruffy lie to within 2 feet of the hole to set up a closing birdie, leaving both Brown and Kisner off the green, one of them needing to hole a shot to force extra holes.
After Brown couldn’t do it, Kisner’s pitch shot slammed into the flagstick and fell in for an eagle, capping a final-round 12-under-par 60.
The sudden-death playoff is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. EDT. A six-hour weather delay prevented a conclusion on Sunday.
“We knew our game plan was to go make a ton of birdies,” Kisner said. “Every time we made one, I said, ‘Let’s go make another one, buddy.’ ”
Smith and Blixt took a four-stroke lead into the final round of an event that gave the PGA Tour a refreshing break from 72-hole stroke-play tournaments. They did not make a bogey in 72 holes and still found themselves facing more golf.
Both teams finished 27-under par in two rounds of foursomes play and two rounds of four-balls.
“We have to come out and do the same thing we did (Sunday), be aggressive,” Brown said. “It’s going to take a birdie or an eagle (to win).”