Hole-in-One Puts Kelly in Leading Role
Jerry Kelly remembers his last PGA Tour victory too well.
“It was ’02. Oh, too long ago,” Kelly said yesterday.
He could be 18 holes away from ending that nearly five-year-old dry spell since the 2002 Western Open.
Kelly used a hole-in-one to move past a fading Ernie Els and into a one-shot lead at the Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
When Kelly stepped to the 200yard, par-3 fourth hole, he was two shots behind Els, who looked like his smooth-swinging, Big Easy persona the first two rounds. But Kelly stunningly caught his playing partner with a 4-iron shot that hit the green, bounced to the flagstick and dropped in.
“That was like a small, little dagger,” Els said. And Kelly wasn’t done. He tapped in for birdie on the next hole to move in front, then added two more birdies to extend his lead to two shots. When Kelly knocked in an eight-footer for birdie on the 12th hole, he was three strokes ahead of the field.
Kelly finished with a 67 for a 13under total. He stood a stroke ahead of Els (71), who made a 35foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, and Kevin Na (66).
Coming off a tie for fifth at the Masters — his first top 10 at a major — Kelly was gunning for more milestones. He says he’s never led a tournament after three rounds and is ready to add a third PGA Tour title to his résumé.
All he’ll have to do is outplay Els, a three-time major champion, for a second straight afternoon.
“I kind of relish trying to do that,” Kelly said. “They make me happy. They don’t scare me.” K LPGA TOUR: For three days, Lorena Ochoa and Laura Davies have matched each other shot for shot at the Ginn Open in Reunion, Fla., finishing every round tied for the lead.
If Ochoa can pull away today, the 25-year-old Mexican star will pass Annika Sorenstam — who withdrew from the Ginn because of ruptured and bulging disks in her back — as the world’s top-ranked player.
The reigning LPGA Tour player of the year matched Davies with a 2-under 70, leaving them tied at 14 under through three rounds. Both birdied the final hole to move four shots ahead of Brittany Lincicome (67) and Natalie Gulbis (71).
Lincicome — the winner of last season’s World Match Play Championship — started the day seven shots back, but used five birdies and an eagle to make a move and earn a spot in today’s final threesome with Davies and Ochoa. K EUROPEAN TOUR: Austrian Mar- kus Brier shot a 4-under 67 to take the lead after the third round of the China Open in Shanghai.
Brier had seven birdies and three bogeys at the Shanghai Silport Golf Club to go to 6-under 207.
Scott Hend of Australia was a stroke back after a 1-under 70, followed by Andrew McLardy (67) of South Africa, who was 4 under.