Jerry Kelly will enter the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs with a momentum advantage after his victory in the SAS Championship today, his second win in the past four weeks. But he was pushed all the way by Australia’s David McKenzie, who surged home in the final round like he had nothing to lose.
Kelly shot a seven-under par 65 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina, to win the final event of the PGA Tour Champions’ regular season by a shot over McKenzie, who closed with a 63.
“I feel good,” Kelly [above] said about his prospects heading into next week’s the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the first of three Schwab Cup playoff tournaments. “I’m healthy. I hit the ball well. I had a great Face Time lesson with my coach Jim Schuman, because I was kind of lost, coming off Pebble [the Pure Insurance Championship]. Pebble does that to me. He really gave me some great thoughts and I struck it beautiful this week.”
He will enter the playoffs trailing only Scott McCarron, who has not won since the Mastercard Japan Championship in early June, though he continues to rack up top 10s, including a tie for eighth today.
Kelly, 52, began the final round in third place, a stroke behind co-leaders Doug Barron and Woody Austin. He made five straight birdies to close the front nine and take a four-stroke lead into the back nine.
His greatest threat was McKenzie, who played the back nine in six-under par 31 with four birdies and a 17th-hole eagle, where he holed out from a greenside bunker to cut his deficit to one. But Kelly had a two-putt birdie at 17 and secured his victory with a three-putt bogey at 18.
Austin and Barron, along with David Toms, tied for third.
The victory was Kelly’s third of the season, a senior career best, as was his 12th top 10 (in 20 starts). His season earnings, $US2,254,485, also is a senior best.