Rookie Wins the Boe­ing Clas­sic

Golf Today Northwest - - Contents - By CRAIG SMITH

The 13th an­nual Boe­ing Clas­sic started and ended with two bests – best fly­over by a Boe­ing jet­liner to be­gin the tour­na­ment and best win­ning score. The pilot was Mike Bryan, and he made three in­stead of two low passes over the course in a 787-8. The plane had an Arnold Palmer um­brella painted on its belly as a trib­ute to the golf gi­ant who died last Septem­ber. Bryan even added a wing wag­gle for em­bel­lish­ment. The golfer pre­sented with the win­ner’s bomber jacket Sun­day was Cham­pi­ons Tour rookie Jerry Kelly, 50. He has full play­ing el­i­gi­bil­ity on the PGA Tour but prefers the over-50 tour most weeks. Kelly shot a three-day to­tal of 197 (65-66-66) to top the pre­vi­ous tour­na­ment mark by one stroke. Other win­ners on the fi­nal day were fans in the Canyon Club on the 14th hole. They got half-price beers when­ever some­one birdied or ea­gled the “Canyon Hole.”thirty-one of the 77 golfers went for the green and the re­sult was one ea­gle, 12 birdies and a lot of happy cus­tomers. Kelly, a three-time win­ner on the PGA Tour and a mem­ber of the Pres­i­dent’s Cup team in 2003, is a like­able na­tive of Madi­son, Wisc. He be­came the first first-round leader to win the Boe­ing tour­na­ment. Kelly shared the first-round lead with Mike Mcken­zie, an Aus­tralian who had Tues­day-qual­i­fied in a play­off to grab the fi­nal spot in the field. Mcken­zie, a golf­ing no­mad who had flown in from Fiji, faded into the pack on the week­end. In the fi­nal round, Kelly fell be­hind and trailed Jerry Smith by a shot with three holes to play. Kelly pulled even with a short birdie putt on No. 16 then took the lead for good by sink­ing a 15-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th hole. Home­town fa­vorite Fred Cou­ples had one good round – a 66 on Satur­day – and fin­ished tied for 20th at 208. In ad­di­tion to the tour­na­ment scor­ing record be­ing set by Kelly, Gene Sauers set a front-nine record with a 30 on Sun­day. Over­all scor­ing – 71.13 strokes per round – was the sec­ond low­est in the tour­na­ment’s his­tory. What made Kelly’s vic­tory all the more fun was that he got wrong di­rec­tions to the course for his proam day Wed­nes­day. The concierge at his Belle­vue ho­tel gave him di­rec­tions to the flat and friendly pub­lic Sno­qualmie Falls Golf Course in­stead of the Jack Nick­laus-de­signed The Course at Sno­qualmie Ridge. Kelly ul­ti­mately showed up at the pri­vate course where a field of 78 that in­cluded 12 win­ners of PGA Tour ma­jors awaited him for the tour­na­ment. He could have re­ceived bet­ter di­rec­tions if he had asked Dr. Harry Sese, the Belle­vue-based “golf­ing doc” he works with for fit­ness and flex­i­bil­ity. This was the first tour­na­ment for new tour­na­ment di­rec­tor Brian Fla­jole, a grad­u­ate of Juanita High School and WSU. He was pleased with how things went. “The tour­na­ment could not have been bet­ter,” Fla­jole said. “We had great crowds, great weather and a fan­tas­tic fin­ish. Cer­tainly, lo­cal golf fans loved see­ing Fred­die Cou­ples com­pete again, but it was good to see large gal­leries for new­com­ers like Jose Maria Olaz­a­bal and Miquel An­gel Jimenez.” The Euro­pean who got the most at­ten­tion Sun­day was de­fend­ing cham­pion Bern­hard Langer, who was cel­e­brat­ing his 60th birth­day. He was ser­e­naded with “Happy Birth­day” in the club­house, on the range, at the first tee and through­out his round. He shot 65 and fin­ished tied for third with Billy May­fair at 200. “Not a bad way to start the 60s – with a 65, right?” said Langer, who failed in his bid to be­come the first three-time win­ner of the tour­na­ment.

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