Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Golf

Jerry Kelly shares first-round lead at Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Conn. — Jerry Kelly played off the emotion of what he considers a home crowd Thursday in the Travelers Championship, shooting 6-under 64 for a share of the first-round lead with Vaughn Taylor and Andrew Loupe.

Kelly, 49, played at the nearby University of Hartford. Headed to the Champions Tour after this season, Kelly won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2009.

"I'm not that man who has people constantly yelling wherever I go," Kelly said. "I kind of take those good vibes and run with it. It's fun."

Kelly started his afternoon on the back nine, sinking a 45-foot putt for eagle on his sixth hole of the day, the course's signature par-4 15th. The green was redesigned as part of a $3.5 million course renovation project this year and the front left pin placement was new.

Loupe and Taylor went out early, when relatively soft greens and little wind helped the scoring.

Taylor, the 40-year-old who won for the first time since 2005 at Pebble Beach this year, strung together five consecutive birdies starting on the 12th hole and shot a 30 on the back nine. "That was a nice little run and I needed that," Taylor said. "I was playing well and just needed something to kind of get me going."

Loupe, who at 27 is looking for his first tour win, had seven birdies and a bogey. He pulled into a tie for the lead after a 128-yard approach shot on 18 gave him a 2-foot birdie putt.

Jon Rahm, the 21-year-old Spaniard who turned pro in June, eagled the par-5 13th and was a stroke back along with Ben Martin and Marc Leishman.

Ninety-three players shot par or better, including U.S. Olympians Bubba Watson (67), Matt Kuchar (69), and Patrick Reed (70). They are playing the first two rounds as a trio, and fans stood four and five deep at times to watch them, chanting "USA! USA!" as they arrived at the 18th tee.

U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR: South Korea's Eun Jeong Seong and Italy's Virginia Elena Carta each won two matches in Springfield, Pa., to keep alive their bids for rare season sweeps. Seong, 16, is trying to become the first player to win the event and U.S. Girls' Junior in the same season, and Carta, 19, is attempting to become the second player to win the tournament and NCAA individual title in the same year. Seong faces 17-year-old Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., in today's quarterfinals, a rematch of her victory last month in the U.S. Girls' Junior final. Carta, the NCAA individual champion as a Duke freshman in May, faces Puerto Rico's Maria Torres, who will be a senior at Florida and was the SEC's female golfer of the year this past season.

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