jerry kelly had a strong motivation in the home stretch on Sunday during the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship: returning to the Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass.
Kelly birdied the 16th and 17th holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron to beat Steve Stricker by two strokes and win the major PGA Tour Champions for the second time in three years. He finished 11 under 269.
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Kelly secured a spot in Players 2023 with the victory and will make her 25th career start at the Stadium Course, counting the 2020 tournament which was canceled after the first round due to the pandemic.
He finished tied for 19th in 2016. Kelly had a memorable run in 2001 until he was passed by Tiger Woods.
“The first major is great, but the second, even more validation,” Kelly said after the win. “I’m really excited to be returning to Sawgrass next March. It was a big chunk of the desire to win this tournament. It’s one of those great things that we have with our majors that we can get to go play at the pinnacle of golf. I’m really excited about this.
Kelly also won with his wife Carol waiting. She underwent surgery last year to remove a cancerous mass from her right kidney.
“Just the fact that she’s here this week,” Kelly said. “She’s like, ‘You know what, I want to be there for you, I love that golf course, it’s really cool just to be there.'”
Kelly also won at Firestone in August 2020 and finished second last year. He now has 10 PGA Tour Champions titles and his second of the season.
Play for fun
PGA Tour members play golf for a living, but that doesn’t mean there are times when they want to play for fun, even during tournament week.
Fred Funk once rushed from a post-tour interview after the 2006 PGA Championship in Medina to the historic Chicago Golf Club to enter 18 holes, having opened the PGA with a 69.
He has a soul mate in Max Homa.
Four-time Tour winner Homa shot 71 in the second round of the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club last Friday to make the one-shot cut, then raced back up the hill to face 190-year-old North Berwick in the Firth of Forth.
Homa had the chance to play against Muirfield earlier in the week with Joe Greiner, his caddy, but canceled because Greiner’s clubs had been lost by the airline.
He was not going to miss North Berwick.
“I saw the video years ago. It was in North Berwick and I was like, ‘This is the coolest golf course in the world. And all of a sudden it became my favorite that I had never played,” said Homa after his 66 in the third round of the Scottish Open. “That’s what made [playing North Berwick] a must, because I don’t have tee times in North Berwick and Muirfield and say “no” to both. I’ve ruled out North Berwick and hope to play Muirfield the next time we come through.
Word spread in North Berwick that a four-time Tour winner was playing a recreational tour and the members followed his group.
“People around here who I find extremely nice, and kept going back and taking pictures,” he said. “You could say the golf community here is tight. It was a cool day. It was definitely one of the best golf experiences I have ever had.
Whether Mel Reid and Leona Maguire playing anything close to their form at last year’s Solheim Cup, they should be a factor this week in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Michigan, the LPGA team event that begins Wednesday.
Reid, from England who lives in Atlantic Beach, and Maguire, from Ireland, went 2-0-1 as Solheim Cup partners in Inverness, helping Europe beat the United States 15-13 .
Their formula: Keep it simple, even down to the name of the team, which Reid says would probably be “just best friends…because obviously that’s clearly who we are. We’ve done so well at Solheim and he’s someone I really enjoy playing with.”
Maguire said they wouldn’t think about strategy much more than that.
“I’m not going to complicate it too much,” she said. “We didn’t do it at Solheim, so there’s really no reason to do it this week either.”
Lewis makes his first start in 2022
Originally from Jacksonville Amelie Lewis will make her first start on the LPGA Tour in nearly a year when she plays in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational with Paula Reto from South Africa.
Lewis last played in late July 2021 at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, her 22nd consecutive start in which she missed the cut or retired. Lewis last played over the weekend at the 2018 Kingsmill Championship, where she finished tied for 36th.
Event: Open Championship, Thursday-Sunday, St. Andrews, Scotland.
Up for grabs: $14 million in purse ($2.5 million and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Collin Morikawa.
TV: Peacock (Thursday-Friday, 1.30am-4am; 3pm-4pm); USA (Thursday-Friday, 4am-3pm; Saturday, 5am-7am; Sunday, 4am-7am); NBC (Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.).
Registered local players: David Duval, Harris English, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Keith Mitchell, Trey Mullinax, JT Poston, Cameron Smith.
Notable: Morikawa won his second major championship, beating Jordan Spieth by two strokes at Royal St. George. … Tiger Woods, who has won the Old Course twice, is playing in his third tournament this year. He made the cut at the Masters and the PGA. … It’s the Open’s 150th anniversary and the 30th to be played at St. Andrews. … Eighteen of the last 20 British Open champions are on the court.
Event: Barracuda Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Tahoe Mountain Club, Truckee, CA.
Up for grabs: $3.7 million in purse ($666,000 and 350 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Erik van Rooyen.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 6-9pm).
Registered zone players: Jonas Blixt, Jonathan Byrd, Matt Every, David Lingmerth, Doc Redman, Greyson Sigg, Julian Suri.
Notable: The tournament uses a modified Stableford scoring system. Van Rooyen scored 50 points to beat Andrew Putnam by five.
Event: Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Wednesday-Saturday, Midland (Mich.) Country Club.
At stake: $2.5 million purse ($375,000 per team).
Defending Champions: Ariya-Moriya Jutanugarn.
TV: Golf Channel (Wednesday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.); CBS (Saturday, 4-6 p.m.).
Registered local players: Amelia Lewis (playing with Paula Reto); Mel Reid (playing with Leona Maguire).
Notable: The Jutanugarn sisters shot 27 in the tag team format to win by three shots.
KORN FERRY TOUR
Event: Memorial Health Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Panther Creek Country Club, Springfield, IL.
At stake: $750,000 prize money ($135,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Taylor Moore.
Zone players registered: Chris Baker, Blayne Barber, Chandler Blanchet, AJ Crouch, Phillip Knowles, Carl Yuan.
Notable: Moore shot a 60 in the third round and then beat Erik Barnes by three strokes to 27 under.
Contact Garry Smits at firstname.lastname@example.org