Jerry Kelly leads by two at Dominion Energy Charity Classic
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Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
Jerry Kelly's Round 1 highlights from Dominion Energy
Jerry Kelly fired a 7-under 65 on Friday to grab the first-round lead at the PGA TOUR Champions Dominion Energy Charity Classic at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.
Kelly, who’s fourth in the Schwab Cup Playoff standings, held a two-stroke lead over a group of four players that included Miguel Angel Jimenez, who’s fifth in the race for the cup.
“Yeah, I mean, I love great starts, but that’s all they are is great starts,” Kelly said. “I’d love to be in the lead and have a great finish, that would be really cool. Yeah, as long as I can stay in position, it’s just trying to close it out on Sunday.”
The Dominion is the first of three Schwab Cup Playoff events, and Kelly struck the first blow in
pursuit of his first Charles Schwab Cup. He shot 5 under on the front nine and was on cruise control. He added two birdies on the back nine and had no bogeys.
Kelly was playing in the final group with Steven Alker, No. 1 in the Schwab Cup standings, and Padraig Harrington, who’s No. 2. Harrington was in the group tied for second at 5 under until he double-bogeyed the par-3 17th to drop back to 3 under. But he managed to birdie the par-5 18th to join a group of nine players who were tied for sixth at 4 under, including defending Dominion and Schwab Cup champion Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els.
Only the top 54 players in the Schwab Cup standings will advance to the next event, the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Florida. The top 36 after that advance to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
The three players tied for second with Jimenez at 5 under are all looking to make significant moves in the standings. Glen Day, Joe Durant and Bob Estes all would jump more than 20 places. For Durant and Estes it would earn them spots through the finale.
Estes had to withdraw before the final round of last week’s SAS Championship with back spasms.
“Of course I’m hoping to make it all the way to Phoenix, but I’ve just got to take care of it one round, one tournament at a time to get there,” Estes said.
Alker finished at 3 under, in a contingent of eight players tied for 15th.
“It was a bit scratchy today,” said Alker, who hit only eight of 14 fairways to rank 54th in the field in driving accuracy. “Got off to a nice start, I was hitting the ball pretty decent, hit some close shots, but the back nine just didn’t quite get my tee balls in position, missed a few greens. I just kind of scrambled a little bit, didn’t take advantage of the par 5s. Yeah, I kind of felt like I left a little bit out there.”