CALGARY — A slight case of nerves didn’t stop Jerry Kelly from draining a four-foot putt to win the Shaw Charity Classic on Sunday.
Kelly holed the clutch birdie putt on the par-5, 585-yard finishing hole at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club to beat John Huston in a one-hole playoff to take home the winner’s share of $352,500.
“I just like to think of those nerves as adrenalin and when I get that adrenalin going, I can breathe and control it … but if you don’t have it, I’m a pretty good two-handicap on all the other days except for tournament days,” said Kelly, 55, a former hockey player from Madison, Wisc. “Drop the puck and let’s go.”
After Kelly and Huston finished the 54-hole tournament tied for the lead with a three-round total of 9-under 201, the pair went back to the 18th tee for the playoff.
“Basically, the adrenalin came down on me a little bit and I had to eat something real quick just to get a little sugar rush and get back into it,” said Kelly, who bombed a lengthy drive into the fairway and then put the ball on the green in two shots. “I definitely had to put something back before I teed off. You could tell after that drop-kick drive, I did the right thing.”
Kelly then missed a lengthy eagle putt, while Huston was on the green in three. After Huston missed his birdie putt to the right, Kelly made his to become just the second player in 10 years to win the tournament in a playoff. The other was back in 2014 when Fred Couples beat Billy Andrade.
“I’m very happy about the outcome, but I always appreciate playing against these guys, they’re great,” said Kelly, who leapfrogged past Padraig Harrington and into second spot in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings behind Steven Alker.
On the day, Kelly carded a round of 3-under 67, while Huston was two shots better to earn his spot in the sudden-death playoff.
“I’m happy with the way that I played,” Huston said. “The two worst putts I hit all day were on the last hole and in the playoff, but my speed was a lot better today which made it easier because I had a lot of long putts. Overall, obviously a good week because I haven’t played good in a long time, but would have liked to have finished it off.”
For Kelly it was his third victory in six tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions circuit as he also won the Kaulig Companies Championship in Akron, Ohio, on June 10 and the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 5.
Harrington, Joe Durant, Dean Wilson, Alex Cejka and Kirk Triplett all finished in a five-way tie for third spot at 8 under, while Marco Dawson and Shane Bertsch were one shot back of that group at 7 under.
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member and former Calgary resident Stephen Ames carded a round of 4-under 66 to finish in a tie for 23rd spot with Alan McLean of London, Ont., as the top Canadians at 2 under.
“It was a good weekend,” said Ames, who bounced back with a solid round on Sunday after shooting 73 the day before. “I didn’t play particularly well. I think it’s that time of the year where I’ve been running out of gas. It’s been a long year already for me as it is, so I’m looking forward to a couple weeks off coming up.”
Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., had an interesting day on the golf course as he was assessed a two-shot penalty for having more than 14 clubs in his bag on the first hole.
“I started off with 15 clubs and after two holes I had 13,” explained Weir, who gave his extra club (a practice 8 iron with a reminder grip) to a rules official before accidentally breaking his 5 iron on the second hole. “That’s a shock to the system on the first hole to have that. I haven’t done that since probably junior golf. That was disappointing and I just couldn’t get any momentum after that.”
On the second hole, Weir pulled his drive into the trees and his ball came to rest on a pine tree branch that had fallen on the ground next to a tree. He managed to hit the ball into a greenside bunker, but his club broke when he hit the tree on his follow through.
“It was an interesting day, let’s say,” said Weir, who carded a round of 2-over 72 to finish the tournament in a tie for 46th overall at 1 over. “You think you see it all and I had a lot in one day, so golf is funny sometimes.”
David Morland IV, who’s originally from Aurora, Ont., shot 69 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 49th at 2 over.
Although Dennis Hendershott of Brantford, Ont., had a respectable round of 72 on Sunday, he finished last with a total score of 13 over.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2022.
Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press