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September 2 2011

6:21 PM

Motivated Kelly playing well

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Jerry Kelly needs a big finish this week to assure himself a spot in THE TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

NORTON, Mass. -- Jerry Kelly looked surprised when someone reminded him that he'd had a good run at TPC Boston two years ago.

"I did?" he asked. "All I remember is I missed it last year."

He did – on both counts. Kelly was two strokes off the lead entering the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2009 and went on to tie for 11th. But last year's early exit from the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup was much more top of mind for the veteran from Wisconsin.

"That's one of the reasons I fought to get here, because I certainly didn't like missing it last year," Kelly said. "I don't like missing anything. I don't like missing Atlanta, I don't like missing majors. But it happens, and I try my best not to let it happen again."

Not only is Kelly playing at TPC Boston, he's one stroke off the lead after shooting a 66 that was his eighth straight sub-70 round dating back to his tie for 26th at the PGA Championship. To hear him talk, course management was as important as a cooperative putter that needed just 25 strokes.

"It was interesting out there," Kelly said. "I didn't really have much on the tee balls except for getting them in the fairways, and my irons weren't very crisp. But my brain was working really well today. I got her around the golf course with a not-so-perfect swing. So I'm happy with the result.
   
"I've been hitting it so well the last three weeks that I don't know if I was really hitting it poorly. But ... I've been so used to flushing it. This definitely wasn't one of those days, but I'm happy with the score."

Kelly's round included birdie putts of 18, 15, 3 and 13 feet, as well as a chip-in eagle at the 18th. He says he's been working hard on his mobility and can now "smooth the ball out there with a decent swing" rather than going at it "100 to 110 percent." Kelly has also worked hard on calming himself down -- and the synergy between the two has paid dividends of late.

"So all of a sudden my swing and what I was trying to do with my mental attitude, they were matching up, so I was able to stay in that mode all the way through a round, which was very difficult for me in the past," Kelly explained. "I'd go after it, I'd try to get something back or I'd try to go further.  I'd always be fighting it.

"But I don't think I had the swing or the body to be able to smooth it out correctly like I am now, so I credit those two houses right there with giving me the ability. But I definitely credit me with going ahead and trying it anyway. I'm just glad it turned out."

Kelly is well aware of where he stands in the FedExCUp and what he needs to do to secure his spot in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He came into the week ranked 47th and he says he needs to finish among the top four to be safe for East Lake.

"I'm on top of my numbers," he said, in between bites of some Wisconsin cheddar.

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