PGA Tour ChampionsSeptember 15, 2019

Jerry Kelly wins the Ally Challenge to close the gap on Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron

The Ally Challenge In Michigan
NurPhotoJerry Kelly's victory in the Ally Challenge was his second of the season. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The final sprint for the Charles Schwab Cup is underway, and Jerry Kelly increased the prospect of it being competitive with his victory in the Ally Challenge on Sunday.

Kelly shot a bogey-free four-under-par 68 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich., to defeat Woody Austin by two strokes. The victory was the second of the year for Kelly and fifth of his PGA Tour Champions career.

Scott McCarron began the week leading Kelly by more than $750,000 in the Schwab Cup standings, but with Kelly's $300,000 winner’s share of the Ally Challenge purse, he at least can see McCarron on the horizon. He trails McCarron by $492,083.

“Yeah, we know we've got to catch up to Scotty, we've got to do something special," Kelly said. "He's been playing great and he's got a huge lead. All we can do is try and chase him down, try to win tournaments. We're all trying to play as best we can every single week, so just do the same thing next week.”

Only five tournaments remain before the season-finale Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Kelly expects to play them all. “It’s a push to the finish,” he said.

Kelly, 52, is having the finest season of the three he has played on the PGA Tour Champions. He has earned $1,861,882, only $60,614 short of making it the most lucrative year as a senior, with six tournaments left.

In June, Kelly won the American Family Insurance Championship, a week before finishing second in the U.S. Senior Open. It was part of an eight-tournament stretch in which he finished in the top five in five of them and in the top 10 in seven.

His victory on Sunday came on a course on which had had little success when the PGA Tour’s Buick Open was played there.

“The past doesn't matter,” Kelly said. “Even when you play well at a course, I mean, you have good feelings, so it tends to breed better play, but we've all done it for so long that if we play well, it doesn't matter what the golf course is. That's fairways, that's greens, that's making putts. You do well at any course when you do that. I do like the golf course, it just hasn't liked me in the past.”

Kelly made only one bogey in 54 holes en route to a score of 16-under-par 200 at Warwick Hills. He began the final-round with a one-stroke lead over Austin and McCarron. But the latter closed with a 75 and tied for 15th, and Austin shot a 69.