Jerry Kelly posted a 1-under 69 to claim a two-stroke victory over Scott Parel at the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.
Kelly, who owned the top spot after each of the opening rounds, clinged to a one-shot advantage over Parel after a bogey on No. 11. But that lead tripled when the Wisconsin native aced the 177-yard par-3 12th, using a 5-iron.
“I mean, it was perfect timing after making my first bogey. I wanted a bounce-back birdie, but definitely a bounce-back eagle was even better, said Kelly, who led the field with 51 greens hit in regulation.
“It was just a really clean shot. It was everything that I wanted to do. And when the brain works and then the muscles work and it follows the tune and actually goes in, it’s pretty amazing.”
A bogey by Parel on the very next hole provided Kelly with a four-shot cushion which was never threatened down the stretch, despite closing with a double bogey.
“So, yeah, just happy to build a lead that we could do that on 18,” joked Kelly.
Kelly (-3) and Parel (-1) were the only two players in the 80-plus player field to finish 72 holes of golf in the red.
Tied for third-place at level-par was the duo of Colin Montgomerie (71) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (69), who were the only other players to finish even-par or better.
Rod Pampling shot a low-round 66 to finish tied for fifth on 2-over par, alongside Ernie Els (70) and Woody Austin (73).
Name: Jerry Kelly
Weight: 170 lb
Birthdate: Nov 23, 1966 (age 53)
Native: Madison, WI
College: Univ. of Hartford
PGA Tour Wins: 3
Champions Tour Wins: 7
Best World Ranking: 18 (Mar 2003)
Leaderboard: Final Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Jerry Kelly -3 (-1)
2. Scott Parel -1 (E)
3. Colin Montgomerie E (+1)
3. Miguel Angel Jimenez E (-1)
5. Rod Pampling +2 (-4)
5. Ernie Els +2 (E)
5. Woody Austin +2 (+3)
Top Shot: Kelly Aces No. 12
Using a 5-iron from 177 yards, Jerry Kelly makes an ace on the par-3 12th hole.
Parting Question For Jerry Kelly
Q. And then THE PLAYERS Championship, that’s going to be pretty cool.
JERRY KELLY: “Yeah, no, it’s seriously one of my favorite places on the planet. I love it. I love playing there. I love the tournament. I hope it’s not too cold and rainy.
“But I like that it’s back in March, it’s tougher. So you got to get the ball in the fairway. It will be lush and it will be deep, I hope, with the rough.
“So yeah, it’s a fairways and greens place. It’s good.”
Credits: Getty Images, PGA Tour Media