SNOQUALMIE — Jerry Kelly shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Boeing Classic, putting him in position for his first PGA Tour Champions title.
Tied for the first-round lead with Australian David McKenzie, Kelly saved par with a 12-foot putt on the par-5 18th at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge to remain 13 under.
“I didn’t want to let one go,” Kelly said. “To have as many shots in between you and the next guy is preferable, but some great players (are) right there as always this week. You know, just go out and play.”
Kelly had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of the round. The three-time PGA Tour winner is making his 13th senior start after turning 50 in November.
“The first day was the first, I was tied for the lead. This is another first,” Kelly said. “I’ll be thrilled if there’s another first tomorrow. I’ve definitely been humbled by the way these guys can play. You just keep going. You just keep playing as hard as you can. It’s three days and they’ve proved they step on the gas.”
Billy Mayfair (65) and Jerry Smith (66) were tied for second.
Mayfair closed with a birdie.
“Hit it in the short bunker and blasted out about maybe 6 feet above the hole and made a slippery putt down the hill,” Mayfair said. “Good way to end the day.”
Defending champion Bernhard Langer (65) was another stroke back along with playing partner Colin Montgomerie (65).
“I enjoy playing with Bernhard,” Montgomerie said. “You know if you’re equal him, you have half a chance and I did that with a good putt on the last. … I’ve made a positive move in the right direction because I’ve been injured most of this year. It’s difficult to play catch-up, but today was a good day.”
Langer also won the 2010 event. He has a tour-high four victories this year, winning three of the tour’s five major championships.
Michael Allen (66), Scott Dunlap (67), David Frost (68) and Marco Dawson (70) were 8 under.
McKenzie had a 73 to drop into a tie for 19th at 6 under. Local favorite Fred Couples also was 6 under, following an opening 72 with a 66.