A Sunday at his hometown U.S. Open could not have finished up much better for Tacoma’s Troy Kelly.
Taking advantage of barely making the cut, Kelly went 1-over-par over his last 36 holes at Chambers Bay – including a 69 in the final round Sunday – to make a huge jump on the leaderboard.
Kelly finished at 6-over 286, which should keep him inside the top 40. It would earn him approximately $50,000 as he tries to earn enough cash to retain his PGA Tour card.
“The whole experience was amazing,” Kelly said. “Obviously the last two days have been fun for me, because I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to play. Yeah, overall it’s been a great week.”
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Kelly charged on the back nine Sunday, making birdie out of a fairway divot at the 10th hole to start a run of three consecutive birdies.
He bogeyed No. 13, but came back two holes by rolling in a delicate downhill 25-footer for birdie.
“When I hit it, I didn’t feel like I goosed it too much,” Kelly said. “Then when I saw it rolling, and it got three quarters of the way there, I’m like, ‘Slow down or hit the middle of the hole.’ And it was just, boom, right in the middle. That probably would have went off the green.”
It was a special week for the Central Kitsap High School and University of Washington product, who had his brother, Ryan, on the bag – and his father, Bob, following him around.
Bob Kelly went to a hospitality tent after walking nine holes Sunday. But after watching his son make three consecutive birdies, he hurried back on the course.
“My dad, he’s been around my whole career – he wouldn’t miss a shot,” Troy Kelly said. “And with Father’s Day here, and being at home, obviously it was very special.”
So was walking down the 18th fairway with so many patrons yelling his name. Even Ryan got caught up in the moment for his sibling.
“I was fighting back emotions,” Ryan said. “He is my younger brother.”
Kelly will take next week off, then plans on jumping back on the PGA Tour for a stretch of three consecutive tournaments, starting with The Greenbrier Classic, which he nearly won, losing in a playoff to Ted Potter in 2012.
“This week was probably very similar (to Greenbrier in 2012), I would say,” Kelly said. “There I had a lot of support, too. When you are in the lead, people kind of want to support you.
“Being here, and home … it was cool, right there with anything I’ve ever experienced.”