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13 years later, Kelly back in The Players mix

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – When Jerry Kelly set out 13 years ago with a two-stroke lead over Tiger Woods in the final round at TPC Sawgrass, he figured it wouldn’t be his last chance to win The Players.

On Saturday, he’ll get another chance after a round-of-the-week 65 on Day 2 at The Players lifted him into a share of the lead with Kevin Na.

“I figured I’d have another chance on this golf course, but I didn’t think it would take this long,” Kelly said.

At 48, Kelly would be the second-oldest Players champion, behind Fred Funk who won in 2005, but he quickly admitted he will need to “clean up” his game over the weekend if he is going to have a chance at redemption.

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Kelly chipped in for par at the fourth hole, made a scrambling par at the first (he started on the 10th hole) and closed his round with a 10-footer for birdie at No. 9 to secure a spot in Saturday’s final two-ball.

“I got some great breaks, but I did kind of make my breaks and took advantage of them,” Kelly said.

Kelly, who closed with a 73 on Sunday at the ’01 Players to finish four shots behind Woods, struggled through a difficult stretch earlier this year when he wondered if he’d ever make a cut again, missing the weekend in five of six events starting with the Humana Challenge. But on Friday, he said he still believes he can win on the PGA Tour.

“I’d like to hang on a couple of days and have some fun with it,” he smiled.