CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Jerry Kelly played off the emotion of what he considers a home crowd Thursday in the Travelers Championship, shooting a 6-under 64 for a share of the first-round lead with Vaughn Taylor and Andrew Loupe.
The 49-year-old Kelly played at the nearby University of Hartford. Headed to the PGA Tour Champions after this season, Kelly won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2009.
Kelly started his afternoon on the back nine at TPC River Highlands, 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.
Loupe, who at 27 is looking for his first PGA Tour win, had seven birdies and a bogey on the day. 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 hole 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. Watson won at TPC River Highlands in 2010 and 2015.
PAUL LAWRIE MATCH PLAY
NORTH BERWICK, Scotland (AP) — Englishmen Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick won their first-round matches in the Paul Lawrie Match Play as they look to lock up their first Europe’s Ryder Cup spots.
Wood beat Australia’s Brett Rumford 4 and 3, and Fitzpatrick raced to a 6-up lead after nine holes before closing out Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn 4 and 3.
Wood is the top-seeded player at Archerfield and, like Fitzpatrick, currently occupies a spot on the European team for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine next month in Minnesota. Tournament host Paul Lawrie also advanced to the last 32, beating Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard 4 and 2.
In a change, the European Tour said the round of 32 and the round of 16 will both take place Friday because of severe wind forecast for Sunday.
U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (AP) — South Korea’s Eun Jeong Seong and Italy’s Virginia Elena Carta each won two matches in the U.S. Women’s Amateur to keep alive their bids for rare season sweeps.
The 16-year-old Seong is trying to become the first player to win the event and U.S. Girls’ Junior in the same season, and the 19-year-old Carta is attempting to become the second player to win the tournament and NCAA individual title in the same year.
Seong beat Thailand’s Chakansim (Fai) Khamborn 5 and 4 in the morning in the round of 32 at Rolling Green, and topped fellow South Korean player Hye-Jin Choi 6 and 5 in the afternoon round of 16.
Seong will face 17-year-old Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California, in a rematch of her victory last month in the U.S. Girls’ Junior final at Ridgewood in Paramus, New Jersey. Lee beat Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, California, 6 and 4 in the round of 16.
Carta, the NCAA individual champion as a Duke freshman in May, beat Jessica Porvasnik of Hinckley, Ohio, 3 and 2 in the round of 16, She will face Puerto Rico’s Maria Torres.