Kelly’s a hero again after seven years

Veteran American Jerry Kelly endured a nervous final day, losing and then regaining the lead to end a seven-year tournament drought.

Kelly scored a final round of one-under-par 71 for a 72-hole total of 14-under 274 to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans by one stroke.

The experienced PGA Tour player, who last won at the 2002 Western Open, went into the last day with a three stroke lead. By midway through the round, though, he was three shots back.

That’s when he decided to get himself together. A couple of birdies later, and with other players falling over themselves, Kelly managed to hang on for victory in the $6.2 million tournament.

One stroke behind on 275 was the trio of South African Rory Sabbatini, South Korea’s Charlie Wi and American Charles Howell, who squandered a two-shot lead through the course of the day.

Sabbatini got close with his 67 while Howell and Wi shot 68 each. They were one stroke ahead of Americans Steve Marino and David Toms.

Since his last victory, the 42-year-old Kelly had notched four runners-up positions and 42 top 10s.

Few would have guessed that Kelly would be breaking his barren run on his 200th tournament since his last success.

Only last week, Kelly abruptly walked off the course on the second day of the Verizon Heritage tournament after shooting 10 on one hole, blaming flu and a dislocated rib.

He has come back in the best possible way and doesn’t want to wait another seven years for his next title. He said in an AFP article:

“I got myself in position. I wish I could have finished it a little better.”

On the European Tour, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee won for the second time this year in a joint-sanctioned event when he took the Ballantine’s Championship title in Jeju, South Korea after a three-way play-off.

Thongchai, a former Thai Army paratrooper, birdied the extra hole to beat Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and home favourite Kang Wook-soon to lift the title in the tournament that is jointly sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.

He finished the final round on two-under 70 for a total of four-under 284 after going into the fourth day four strokes off the pace.

Fernandez-Castano missed the green in the play-off while Kang was unable to sink a five-foot putt for birdie. Thongchai stepped up to drop his six-footer on the par-four 18th for a three and follow up his victory in the Indonesian Open in March.

Meanwhile, world number one Lorena Ochoa, of Mexico, delighted her home fans when she won the Corona Championship on the LPGA Tour in Morelia.

She scored a final round five-under-par 68 for a total of 25-under 267 and a one-stroke victory over Norway’s Suzanne Pettersen, who also shot 68. It was Ochoa’s third pro victory in Mexico

One Response to “Kelly’s a hero again after seven years”

  1. mgant says:

    I’m from Madison, WI, Jerry’s hometown. I have seen him and Jim Schuman (his swing coach, and bro in-law) at the range. I think that Jim has got him on the right track. His Putting and Mental game are way better than say five years ago. I see another win for Jerry this year. Go Badgers!

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