Kelly Leads Big Easy Reappears

By Sports NetworkApril 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Jerry Kelly, fresh off a top-five finish at last week's Masters, fired an 8-under-par 63 on Thursday to lead by two after the first round of the Verizon Heritage.
 
Kelly had an impressive Masters, including an under-par round on Sunday, while the man in second place did not have a good showing at Augusta National Golf Club.
 
Jerry Kelly
Jerry Kelly reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole. (WireImage)
Ernie Els, a three-time major champion, posted a 6-under-par 65 Thursday at Harbour Town Golf Links and is alone in second place.
 
'Whatever happened in the past, you can't bring it back,' said Els, who missed his first cut in a major championship since the 1999 PGA Championship. 'For some reason, I wasn't there mentally. I felt I needed to focus on my game this week.'
 
The only player in the field this week who played better than Kelly at the Masters was winner Zach Johnson. His first round as a major winner was a 1-under 70, which put him in a tie for 20th place.
 
On this day, however, it was Kelly who came out on top.
 
Kelly began on the back nine Thursday and parred his first hole before a run of birdies. At the 11th, he hit an 8-iron to 5 feet to set up birdie, then made back-to-back birdies when his 8-iron approach landed him even closer than that on 11. Kelly racked up his third straight birdie thanks to an 18-footer at 13.
 
He hit his tee ball into the water at the 14th, but got up and down easily for what Kelly characterized as an 'easy bogey.' From there, Kelly played spectacularly with a pair of 20-footers for birdie at 15 and 16.
 
Kelly continued his great run on the front side. He knocked a wedge to a foot to set up the tap-in birdie at one, then missed the green with his second at the par-5 second. Kelly pitched his third to 4 feet and holed the birdie putt to reach 6 under par for the championship.
 
Kelly parred the third, then hit a 5-iron to 15 feet at the par-3 fourth. He drained the birdie putt and got up and down from in front of the green for a birdie at the par-5 fifth. Kelly played a 7-iron to 4 feet to set up his 10th birdie of the round at the sixth.
 
He was 9 under par with three holes to play, but things went downhill quickly. At the par-4 eighth, Kelly drove into the rough, then hit his second into the bunker. He could not get up and down for par, so that dropped his early lead to two.
 
'It was a solid ball-striking day and a solid putting day,' acknowledged Kelly. 'I had a lot of kick-ins, but I made some 20-footers, which was a good combination.'
 
Kelly is certainly one of the hottest players in the field this week, based on his finish last week at Augusta National. His tie for fifth at the Masters was his best finish of the year, and Kelly actually saw some similarities in his play from this week and last.
 
'I played no different. I putted similar, struck it similar, up-and-downs,' said Kelly, who shot a final-round, 2-under 70 at the Masters. 'I wouldn't put this golf course that far away from Augusta, but it just shows how difficult Augusta was that I felt just as good shooting 70 as I did shooting eight-under here.'
 
Els flew out of the gate with a birdie and an eagle over his first two holes. He birdied the par-5 fifth, but missed a short par putt at the eighth. The South African tapped in a short birdie putt at nine to get to 4 under par for the tournament.
 
On the second nine, Els rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt, then had makable birdie chances at both 15 and 16. At the par-3 17th, Els missed the green with his tee ball, but he holed out from the bunker to move into solo second.
 
Jose Coceres, the 2001 champion, and Stephen Leaney share third place at 5- under-par 66.
 
Fred Funk, Stewart Cink, Kevin Na, Boo Weekley and J.P. Hayes are knotted in fifth place at 4-under-par 67.
 
Defending champion Aaron Baddeley is among the group tied for 20th with Johnson.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.