Jerry Kelly got command of his wedge midway through his final round in the American Family Insurance Championship on Sunday.
It was a fleeting few moments, as it turned out.
Still, the Madison native really needed the shots he made in making birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13 to get his game back on track after carding three bogeys on the front nine.
Kelly finished with a second straight 2-under 70 to tie for 13th place at 8 under.
Work he did with brother-in-law and former University of Wisconsin men’s golf coach Jim Schuman after Saturday’s round blew up on him early Sunday, when he bogeyed Nos. 4, 6 and 9.
“My head wasn’t there mentally because I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” Kelly said. “That was the problem.”
An encouraging word from Exact Sciences executives Kevin Conroy and Maneesh Arora at the turn — this was the first week Kelly wore their product, Cologuard, on his hat — helped turn things around, Kelly said.
After a par save on No. 10, Kelly hit a wedge to within 5 feet at the 11th and birdied. A 4-iron got to around 10 feet on the 12th for another birdie.
The wedge worked again on No. 13, putting him within 10 feet of a third straight hole under par.
“Then my wedge left me on the next two holes, which I put the drives in the right spots and hit the pause button again,” Kelly said.
He rolled in another birdie putt on No. 16, but the earlier struggles weighed on him afterward.
“I played awful that front (nine),” he said.
One of the shots of the day helped Kent Jones be able to skip the next Monday qualifying.
Jones holed out for eagle from 112 yards with a 50-degree wedge on the par-4 14th hole Sunday.
“It’s something you don’t expect,” Jones said. “I hit the shot and it’s right at it, but you never really know. And usually when it does that, if it hits the pin, it ricochets off the green or something crazy. So to fly in and stay is pretty unusual. And it didn’t do much damage to the cup or anything.”
Jones shot a 64 in the 18-hole qualifier on Monday at The Legend at Bergamont in Oregon to earn his spot in the Am Fam tournament, and his 9 under finish in the 54-hole event got him a $50,000 paycheck.
Finishing in a tie for ninth place also got him an exemption for the next regular PGA Tour Champions tournament. He was the second Monday qualifier to finish in the top 10 of an event this season, joining Steve Pate at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic in March.
Tommy Tolles, who won a playoff in the Monday qualifier to make the field, entered Sunday even for the tournament and shot 5 under to earn an $11,700 payday.
“I had a good round today. I managed my game a lot better than the first two days,” Tolles said. “But I don’t think anyone signs up for (36th) place.”
In Triplett’s defense
Kirk Triplett’s game wasn’t in a position for him to contend in his Am Fam tournament title defense.
The winner of the inaugural tournament a year ago, Triplett shot 4 under on Sunday, with seven birdies and three bogeys, to finish in a tie for 25th at 6 under.
“The game’s just not quite there,” Triplett said. “Once in a while I’ll hit some good shots, but I just feel like they’re not repeatable. And I’m not repeating them.”