Kelly Praises Fellow Badgers for New Orleans Win

28 04 2009

Jerry Kelly’s victory Sunday at the Zurich Classic outside New Orleans means the John Deere Classic field likely will boast yet another 2009 PGA Tour winner.

Kelly, who finished T-18 at last year’s John Deere, has a strong if limited track record at TPC Deere Run, where he finished tied for 8th in 2003 and tied for 12th in 2000. He’s indicated he’ll be back in the Quad Cities this year.

Yesterday was Kelly’s first PGA Tour victory since 2002, and Kelly credited two fellow Wisconsinites – his swing coach/brother-in-law Jim Schuman and fellow PGA Tour pro Steve Stricker – with helping him bring home the trophy.

Schuman, head golf coach at the University of Wisconsin, has helped Kelly revamp his swing while Stricker has been instrumental in Kelly’s improved putting.

“I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for [Schuman], period,” Kelly said afterward. “He has done everything to change my game. You know, I don’t know if you can see it. I can sure feel it. And it’s just time he gets recognized as one of the best teachers. Because if he can do to my swing, what I’m feeling, I’m telling you, I had a bad move.”

Kelly said Stricker’s putting tips enabled him to stay competitive this year before the changes in his full swing came together. Last week, they helped him win.

“Steve Stricker this week took time, again, to help me so much with my putting,” Kelly said. “You know, he’s been such a great friend to me. You know, I hope he can say I’ve been a great friend to him through the years as well. But to have someone special like that out here, I can’t say enough for the man because he’s been there for me.”

Kelly finished at 14-under par at TPC Louisiana on rounds of 68-66-69-71—274. His stats for the week tell much of the story: Although he ranked 66th in Driving Distance at 274 yards, he was No. 1 in the all-important category of Greens In Regulation, hitting 79 percent. He ranked 24th in Putting, taking an average of 1.702 strokes per green in regulation.

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