Sea Island - American Kevin Kisner, four
times a PGA runner-up this year, fired a seven-under par 65 on Thursday to grab
a one-stroke lead after the first round of the RSM Classic.
Kisner, still seeking his first PGA title,
made five birdies and eagled his penultimate hole, the par-5 eighth at the
Plantation Course, during a bogey-free round to claim his first opening-round
lead after 109 tour starts.
The event, hosted by Davis Love, is played
over two courses, the par-70 Seaside Course and the par-72 Plantation layout.
Kisner lost three playoffs earlier this
year, falling to Jim Furyk's birdie on the second playoff hole at the Heritage
in April, then losing to Rickie Fowler's birdie on the first sudden death
playoff hole after a three-hole aggregate deadlock at the Players Championship
in May and falling in a four-man playoff at the Greenbrier in July won by New
Zealand's Danny Lee.
On top of that, the 31-year-old American
settled for second behind Scotsman Russell Knox earlier this month at the World
Golf Championships tournament in Shanghai.
Kisner began off the 10th tee and birdied
the par-3 11th, then closed the side with birdies at 17 and 18. He birdied the
par-5 fourth and par-4 sixth before soaring atop the leader board on eagle's
wings at the par-5 eighth.
But no first-round leader has ever won this
event and no first-round leader has yet won the in 2015-16 PGA campaign.
Eight rivals were one stroke off the pace,
three after six-under 64s at Seaside and five others after 66s at Plantation.
Canada's David Hearn birdied four of his
first six holes, including a chip-in at the par-3 12th, to join Americans Tom
Hoge and Jeff Overton with 64s at Seaside.
Overton is in his 272nd PGA event without a
win, with the most recent of his four career runner-up efforts coming at
Greenbrier in 2010.
Those who shot 66 at Plantation to reach
six-under included South Korean Kim Si-Woo and Americans Jim Herman, Kyle
Stanley, Kevin Chappell and Scott Stallings.
Stewart Cink, in his 499th career PGA Tour
event, shot 67 at Plantation. The American seeks his seventh tour title but is
winless in 147 starts since beating Tom Watson in a playoff at the 2009 British
Love, 51, fired a 70 in his 720th PGA
start. The 2016 US Ryder Cup captain, who won three months ago at Greensboro to
become the third-oldest champion in tour history, played alongside his son Dru,
who fired a 70 in his PGA debut.Leading scores after Thursday's opening round of the US PGA Tour's
RSM Classic (played on two courses, par 72 and 70, USA unless noted):
(7-under) 65 - Kevin Kisner
(6-under) 64 - David Hearn (CAN), Jeff Overton, Tom Hoge
(6-under) 66 - Jim Herman, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Chappell, Scott Stallings, Kim Si-Woo (KOR)
(5-under) 65 - Johnson Wagner, Rob Oppenheim, Freddie Jacobson (SWE), Jason Gore, Trey Mulinax
67 - Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner,
Camilo Vilegas (COL), Hiroshi Iwata (JPN), Bobby Wyatt, Derek Fathauer