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June 28, 2018

Jerry Kelly

Colorado Springs, Colorado

THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome our first round leader Jerry Kelly with a 4-under par 66. Well done, Jerry.

JERRY KELLY: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Four birdies in the first six holes. Tell us about that start.

JERRY KELLY: Yeah, it was solid. Had a good one on the first hole -- I mean, playing a practice round, I was like, boy, it's going to be hard to make birdies; I hope I make one early. So getting off to a start like that was great, 1 and 2. Just kind of flow into the round from there. Then a couple more on, what was that, 6 and 7?


JERRY KELLY: 5 and 6? Close. But I hit it close. Then missed two and a half feet on 9. I really wanted to get to 5 through 9. I thought that would have been pretty strong. And then -- but made a great par save on 10, which kind of offset that a little bit. And then hit it close a few more times. I made one more birdie on 13. I knocked it close, what was that, 15? 14 or 15. I'm not sure. I can't think straight.

But, yeah, I was pretty disappointed with that 3-putt on the last hole. But it gave me a lot today. I played very well, but it gave me some shots, too. So I know how I played that putt on the last hole and I was just incorrect, so --


Q. You're grinding over 2-footers today. Did you ever get to a point on this course where you could just kind of believe in what you either saw or didn't see on the green, just because of the way the mountain influences it?
JERRY KELLY: No, it's not as much the mountain, it's the poa annua grass. I mean, you've got a guy who pops the stroke a little bit. And if I have a little descending blow, it's going to squirt and it's going to bounce.

So I'm a fairly jumpy putter, there's no doubt about it. I'm a very good putter, but I can look kind of foolish at times, too. So, yeah, there's no getting comfortable. Tomorrow morning, smooth greens. I'll probably be a whole lot more comfortable. Doesn't mean I'll make more, but it's good.

Q. But you said you hit it close, which means you probably hit it in the fairway most of the time.
JERRY KELLY: Yes, exactly. Now fairways is A No. 1 out here. You cannot hit it close if you're in the rough. I think I only had one -- I only had one shot out of the rough today? That was on the 587-yard par-4. And I mean that one hurt.

I was in the secondary cut or the, you know, not the primary rough. And even that one hurt. I don't want to get in the other stuff.

Q. Judging by how your practice rounds went, did you think you would be sitting here at 4-under today?
JERRY KELLY: I just wanted to get to know the course. I played nine holes on Tuesday. And I played nine holes on Wednesday. You can't learn a whole lot about yourself at that point.

I played both with my brother-in-law and coach, Jim Schuman, who is also in the tournament. So that helped me tremendously, for him to actually take time out of his prep to help me. That's very selfless of him. And it helped an awful lot. I hit it a heck of a lot better than I hit it last week.

But I played the game very well last week. So if I can hit the ball better and still play the game well, I should be in good shape.

Q. Were there any other critical par saves? You made a pretty good putt on 17, too, right?
JERRY KELLY: 17? Oh, yeah, that was a good one on 17 too. Yeah. 10 and 17 were two very good par-saving putts. So, all right, I'll take those. Thanks, thanks for reminding me. I love that.


Q. I don't know how guys like you think, I mean when you're going up to 18 --
JERRY KELLY: You would be afraid if you knew what I thought, yeah.

Q. Are you thinking, I haven't made a bogey today? I mean did you know that was on the --
JERRY KELLY: No, I got a perfect little cut 8-iron in there. I'm thinking get to 6-under. That's the only thing. I'm thinking keep it left of the ridge and the thing's going to bounce right up there. I can't believe that ball landed actually just short of the green. If I would have landed a foot further, it's rock hard right next to those sprinkler heads, it would have kicked and stayed left. But, no, I just misjudged the shot. I thought it was going to play -- I almost hit 9-iron, that's why I went really easy on my eight because you know you don't want to go long on that hole. No, I just misjudged. I hit a good shot.

Q. And one more thing, how far back do you go with Schuman and how did you guys connect and things like that?
JERRY KELLY: He beat me like a drum at every single level. He was an All-American at Florida and I went to University of Hartford. He won everything in our state and our city and I won one or two things along the way.

But no, I always looked up to him. He was a fantastic player, is a fantastic player. And when he was playing the best of his life he ended up with appendicitis and had to miss Q-School and then he had to get a job and things weren't the same. It would have been different if he didn't have appendicitis. I guarantee you we would be side by side.

Q. Earlier you talked about how you're enjoying life on this TOUR, and there's a comfort level for your family. How much of that comfort level is transferring to your game?
JERRY KELLY: A ton. A ton. I mean, travel with my wife again is so much fun. I mean, we have such a great time. We're best friends and we love each other and just being able to be with that person all the time. And we have been away for so long. And she's been so excited to travel. I mean, it's just really cool.

I asked her, I go, do you want to use that exemption and go on the PGA TOUR? And she's like, why? I'm like, you're right, why. Let's have some fun.

Q. This is off topic a little bit, but I'm curious, because I couldn't find it exactly, how late did you play hockey and when you went to Hartford --
JERRY KELLY: Just, just through high school. No, no, I corrected people every single day and every single year, I did not have a hockey scholarship. I had offers for hockey scholarships in places and Hartford was actually telling me that they were going to go Division I in their hockey program. And I said to someone one time, I have a good friend who played golf, got a golf scholarship in New Hampshire, but he was a hockey player. He's got a ring with the New Jersey Devils, Kevin Dean. I would have done the same thing. If they would have kept the hockey program, I probably would have got -- because the hockey program probably would have been crap the first couple years anyway -- you get a hockey scholarship, play on the golf team. That's how the mentality came out there, because a friend of mine actually did that flip flopped. And now all of a sudden I've got a golf or I've got a hockey scholarship, which they dropped the program right before I got there. So I stopped at high school. Had some decent offers. I could have played, but I was a much better golfer. I knew a lot of really good hockey players, including Kevin Dean, that guy that I just said, and Barry Richter and that -- a lot of them are better than me and they're in the NHL, so it's good.

THE MODERATOR: Well done. Thank you, sir.

JERRY KELLY: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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