Tacoma’s Troy Kelly had all but turned the page after Friday.
After finishing with a bogey in the second round to fall to 5-over-par 145, Kelly figured his hometown U.S. Open experience at Chambers Bay was over. It was time to look ahead to the Greenbrier Classic in two weeks on the PGA Tour.
But he couldn’t stop looking at his phone as the scoring got worse Friday afternoon, nudging him closer to the cut line.
And sometime after 9 p.m., amateur Nick Hardy, who was playing in the final group, made bogey on his final hole at No. 9 to move the cut line to 145, allowing 15 golfers, including Kelly, back into the championship.
How much does that benefit Kelly, the Central Kitsap High School and University of Washington product? If he had missed the cut, he was slated to leave with $4,000. By making the cut, he is guaranteed to make at least $21,000 — maybe more depending on his finish.
“It is a nice help (financially),” Kelly said. “I needed it. I am kind of doing it on my own.”
Kelly has not played on the PGA Tour since late January at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He missed the cut, and withdrew the following week with a hip injury.
He has been feeling better as of late — so good that he went to U.S. Open sectional qualifying nearly two weeks ago at Tumble Creek in Cle Elum, and tied for second to earn his second berth to the national open.
Late Friday afternoon, he missed a 10-foot putt on the 18th green to shoot 73. He went home disappointed, thinking he would miss the cut.
“The cut line was going back and forth. It was bouncing around,” Kelly said. “Once Keegan (Bradley) made birdie on No. 18, I really gave up.”
Kelly returned to the Chambers Bay restaurant for a sponsor’s outing with Waste Connections. That is where he noticed that he was one spot out of making the cut late Friday.
His brother, Ryan, who also caddies, was monitoring it, too.
“He called me and asked, ‘Where are you at?’ And I said I was watching Nick coming down No. 9,” Kelly said. “I said, ‘This is torture.’ ”
Watching from the fence above the ninth green, Kelly saw Hardy’s tee shot land in a bunker 40 yards from the green. His second shot to the par 3 stopped 30 feet away.
“I thought if he makes this, he was destined to knock everybody (at 5-over) out,” Kelly said.
Hardy left the putt short, and gave Kelly new life — and his first made cut at a major.
“I just wanted to play again,” said Kelly, who shot a 2-over-par 72 on Saturday, including back-to-back birdies at Nos. 7 and 8.
“I was having so much fun the first two days with having all my buddies out, and all the people out here supporting me.”