On Sunday afternoon, Kelly left the course to an ovation from the big grandstand on 18, having shot his best round of the weekend at 1-under 69.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — Troy Kelly certainly made the most of his second chance.
The Silverdale native left Chambers Bay golf course in disappointment Friday afternoon, having carded a 5-over 145 through two days of the U.S. Open and unlikely to make the cut.
Then Nick Hardy missed a par putt, allowing the 14 players on five-over to stay in the field for the weekend. And on Sunday afternoon, Kelly left the course to an ovation from the big grandstand on 18, having shot his best round of the weekend at1-under 69.
Kelly shot 6-over for the weekend but drastically improved his standing on Sunday and was tied for 37th at the completion of his round.
“The whole experience was amazing,” Kelly said. “It was an honor to play in front of everybody and have everybody come out to support me. Overall, it was a great week. These last two days have been fun because I didn’t even know if I was going to play.”
The 36-year-old Steilacoom resident birdied four of his final nine holes, most notably the par-3 15th.
“When I hit it, I didn’t feel like I goosed it too much,” Kelly said. “But when I saw it rolling, about three-quarters of the way, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, slow down or hit the middle of the hole.’ Then, boom, it went right in the middle. That probably would have went off the green.”
Kelly ended the four-day tournament on a high — “I was just trying to enjoy the week,” he said afterward, “and I really did, all four days.”
Emotions were more mixed for a more recent University of Washington graduate, Cheng-Tsung Pan, who shot a 4-over 74 to finish 13 over in his professional debut.
“Finally, I’m done,” Pan said. “It’s kind of torturing out there. It’s hard, and I didn’t play well.”
Pan, 23, did brighten up when asked about his plans for his first professional paycheck.
“It’s not that much,” he said with a smile. “I’ll probably go out for a nice dinner with my family and my girlfriend and have a good time.”
Pan entered Sunday with the distinction of being the only player in the field who hadn’t three-putted a hole, though he did break that streak on No. 13. The Chinese Taipei native was solid with his driver, too. His inconsistency with his irons inflated his scores.
“Most of the greens stuff is way overblown,” said Matt Thurmond, his caddie this week and his coach at UW the past four years. “It’s actually embarrassing that the pros have been that way. Because the greens have actually rolled pretty good. They’re tough on the long putts, and the speed varies a little bit. But inside 15 feet, they roll just fine.”
For Thurmond — like Kelly a significant fixture of the local golfing community — it was just a treat to be involved in the region’s first U.S. Open, soaking in cheers from the local galleries, squinting out at Puget Sound in the distance.
“It was just fun to share (Pan’s) pro debut,” Thurmond said. “We’ve all looked forward to the U.S. Open, for a lot of different reasons. I didn’t really know what I was doing this week, and I’m so glad that he played and asked me to caddie so I could have a memorable U.S. Open.”
|How locals fared|
|A look at how the five local golfers fared in the 115th U.S. Open:|
|Missed the cut||Rounds||Total|