Hole-in-One Puts Kelly in Lead­ing Role

The Washington Post Sunday - - On The Air Sunday Morning -

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.

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