Jerry Kelly shot a final-round 66 and set a tournament record by finishing at 19-under 197 at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge.
Jerry Kelly lost his way Wednesday, almost going to the wrong golf course.
But he was right where he wanted to be Sunday, winning the Boeing Classic by a shot over Jerry Smith at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in a dramatic final round.
It was the first victory on the 50-and-over PGA Tour Champions for Kelly, who is still fully exempt on the PGA Tour.
“Awesome,” said Kelly, when asked how he felt. “I don’t miss the PGA Tour because of places like this.”
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Kelly shot a final-round 66 and set a tournament record by finishing at 19-under 197. Billy Mayfair and defending champion Bernhard Langer finished tied for third, three shots behind. Seattle native Fred Couples finished in a tie for 20th at 8 under.
It was an eventful and emotional week for Kelly that began when he and his wife dropped their son off at the University of Colorado to begin college.
Then, on Wednesday, while driving to play in the pro-am, he realized when he got about a half-mile from Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course in Fall City that he gotten bad directions from his hotel concierge.
“It was a tough beginning to the week, but it was a great way to cap it off,” he said.
Kelly, who led after every round, lost the three-shot lead he carried into the final round to Smith, then recaptured it with a pair of late birdies.
He is the first 50-year-old winner on the PGA Tour Champions this year and it was the first time the first-round leader of this event went on to win.
“There were some good first times here today,” said Kelly, who won $315,000.
You knew there was going to be a lot of drama in the final round. Memorable finishes are the standard in this event, and this one delivered as well.
Kelly trailed Smith by a shot with three holes remaining. He got even with a short birdie putt on the par-4 16th, then took the lead when he drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.
Smith had a chance to put pressure on Kelly on the 18th, but he missed an 8-foot putt for birdie. That made it meaningless when Kelly missed from 6 feet on his birdie attempt.
Kelly tapped in. And it was over.
Smith rued missing the birdie putt at No. 18, but not much else in his round of 64, the best of the day.
“You think Jerry’s going to make it, but you’d like to make him make it,” he said. “But he ended up missing it. I would have felt better had he made it.”
Kelly fell behind the first time after Smith made birdies on the 10th and 11th holes. Then, on the 12th hole, Kelly hit an approach shot that he thought might be going too far right, but it just missed the bunker and took a fortuitous bounce, rolling a couple of feet from the hole.
“That was a big deal,” Kelly said.
He tapped in for birdie to get back into a share of the lead before Smith briefly regained it with a birdie on the 15th.
But once again, Kelly responded.
For Smith, it was the second consecutive week playing in the final group in the final round. He took heart that he performed much better than he did last Sunday when he shot a 72 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in New York, dropping from third to ninth.
“I really went out there with the mentality today that I was going to have to do something special to win,” he said.
“I think I gave it a great effort.”
Langer, who turned 60 Sunday, made a charge but it stalled a bit when he made a par on the birdie-friendly par-5 15th. Still, he shot a 65, and was in a good mood afterward.
“Not a bad way to start the 60s, with a 65, right?,” he said.
For Kelly, this was just his 13th event on this tour in his rookie season, and he has no plans to go to back to the PGA Tour.
“I’m very happy to call this my home tour,” he said.
|Boeing Classic at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge (par 72):|