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June 13 2013

6:08 PM

Kelly seeks comfort zone at Merion

 

Jerry Kelly, who shot 70 on Thursday, is playing in the U.S. Open for the first time in three years.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Jerry Kelly spent the three-and-a-half hour weather delay watching Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master."

"It's a pretty darn good movie; you should rent it," he said.

Shortly after the closing credits, Kelly went out and completed a pretty darn good round of golf at Merion, too.

The 46-year-old was tied for the lead during the first round of the U.S. Open until Phil Mickelson one-upped him and got to 3 under on his penultimate hole. Kelly then fell back into the group at even par when he made double bogey at No. 18.

Kelly, who survived the 36-hole sectional qualifying to earn his spot, only ended up playing one practice round at Merion due to the weather issues earlier in the week. Plus, he doesn't play 18 holes the day before a major -- "I'm too old for that, sorry," Kelly said.

As a result, he found he wasn't as committed to his shots as he would have liked.
 
"It was a little uncomfortable with some of the lines just because I didn't know what am I in if I miss it left here, what am I in if I miss it right," Kelly said. "So I wasn't able to do my normal homework. It's just the way it goes. 

"I'll get more comfortable as the week goes on. I have to strike it better than I did today. I didn't hit it very well. But barring double on the last hole, I'm all right with the round."

Kelly said he had a "little epiphany" with his swing recently and the work he's been doing on his putting with Brian Geiberger is starting to bear fruit.

"I've never been able to get to my left side and putt," Kelly said. "He got me on my left side putting."

Energized, Kelly came back after a two-week break to shoot 67-67 in the U.S. Open qualifying, then posted two more rounds in the 60s at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic. While he admits he's been "stepping on my own feet quite a bit" like he did at the 18th on Thursday, Kelly feels good about where his game is headed.

"I know I'm getting older, but I'm starting to feel comfortable and not put as much pressure," he said. "But you say that and I'm still going to get as (ticked) as I always have, so you know."
    

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