Following his third-round 62, Troy Kelly reflects on his play in the 2012 Greenbrier Classic with Mark Immelman from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Troy Kelly has just one more career start on the PGA TOUR, 33, than years he’s been alive.
Usually, that’s a bad combination. In Kelly’s case, however, his career was nearly derailed by a hip injury that required the former University of Washington who once finished second to Luke Donald in the NCAA Championships to have hip replacement surgery in the fall of 2010.
“I didn’t know if I could ever get back to a high level,” Kelly said.
Saturday at The Old White TPC, he certainly was at one.
Kelly shot an 8-under 62 to get to 12 under and the early lead at The Greenbrier Classic. He hit 16 greens and made eight birdies on a hot, humid day in the West Virginia mountains.
The fact that Kelly is even here is something of a minor miracle.
He was playing the Gateway Tour in Arizona after a successful collegiate career when he noticed his hip was bothering him. But because players ride in carts on that tour, Kelly was able to play through what he thought was just muscle pain.
In fact it was bone-on-bone contact in his hip joint.
“It was tough to play and walk,” said Kelly, who finally underwent surgery to replace the arthritic left hip.
Kelly, who also played basketball growing up, didn’t touch a club for three months before he began chipping and putting again. Five months after the procedure, he began to play again.
Slowly, he started to find his old form, too.
Kelly eventually worked his way to the Web.com Tour, eventually tying for 11th on that Tour’s money list in 2011 to earn his PGA TOUR card.
“It took probably about a year to where all the muscle was actually strength end back up where I could feel normal again,” Kelly admitted.
This season hasn’t gone as well, however. Kelly has missed more cuts (eight) than he made (six) and entered this week 187th in the FedExCup standings.
“I was just kind of thrown into the sharks out here,” Kelly said of his first stint on the TOUR, which came in 2009 when he made 17 starts. “I was not very comfortable obviously. But my time the last couple years [on the Web.com Tour] has been good, and last year I got into contention sometimes and had some success.”
Four times on the Web.com Tour, Kelly finished in the top 10. Two of those were top-3 finishes with Kelly finishing second at the Stadion Classic at UGA and third at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.
“It will be a different stage tomorrow,” Kelly admitted. “But I can kind of learn off those, and I think tomorrow will be a good learning experience for me.”
And perhaps a very profitable one, too.