That round capped a two-day 68-69—137 total that got him the 2018 Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Championship at Plum Brook Country Club on Tuesday afternoon.
“Truly that was a kickstart, because I hit it left off the tee, up against a tree," Kelley said. "I whacked it out as best I could — and then launched that putt that somehow found the bottom of the hole.”
After that, it was a lot of pars and consistent golf from a player that was making his second trip to the Galloway Rd. course.
“No idea where I stood on the scoreboard," he said. "Just kept hitting it straight as I could. Made seven birdies over the three days to go with two bogeys."
And, if the handicaps are correct, he should have won. His handicap was the lowest in the field, a plus 2.8. He needed five more strokes to get it to the clubhouse last year.
Ken Kinkopf, of Dublin, was second at 138 followed by Mike McGuire, from Powell, at 139.
First-year player Robert Schustrich, one of 15 newbies, finished at 141.
“Players like Kelley and Kinkopf might not be that well known here at Plum Brook, but around the Midwest they sure are," said tournament director Craig Soule. "They are among the elite senior amateur players."
Willard’s Roger Tolley had a highlight shot on Tuesday, a wedge from 100 yards that found the bottom of the hole on No. 9 for eagle.
"Didn’t do much before or after that,” the 55-year-old said. “Made birdies on 11 and 17 to get to that 73.”
Tolley was just two back after a first-round 1-under par 70 on Monday.
Norwalk's Rod Bordman improved from his 76 on Monday to a 71 on Tuesday. The 53-year-old financier had his chance to go even lower had he chipped in shots on 1 and 15 that hit the pin and hung on the edge.
“I made birdie on 4 from 10 feet, on 6 from two-feet, and on 14 from 12-feet,” he said. “It was a different golf course from yesterday after that rain last night. They let us lift, clean and place but those chips were from the rough, both times with mud on the ball.
“I have not been at my best this year,” Bordman added. “This is a tough sport at this level.”
Bordman, 53, has one date left, the Ohio Senior Publinx at Hawthorne Valley in Mt. Vernon next month.
Jim Boling put his second 81 on the scoreboard.
“I am pretty sure I made one birdie,” he said. “Yep, it was on 8. Made a putt from 15 feet.
“To be honest, the boat has replaced the golf clubs,” Boling added. “And to be honest, you have to have a club in your hand in your spare time if you are going to compete with this group. I have the time but boat-time is easier.”
Chris Bleile got it down to 74 after a 77 on Monday.
“Very inconsistent,” he said. “I birdied No. 9 from six feet and then got them on 10, 13, 15 and 18 — all from the five-foot range. It goes to prove, it’s not how good your good shots are but how bad are your misses.”
All three cashed under the tournament system where a player has the right to take the highest as far as gift certificates. Bordman won in Group 1 (50-54), in the gross division, Tolley won in Group 2 (55-59) in the gross division, while Bleile won in Group 1, first in net category.
Other winners from the area included Bill Monaghan as the Super Senior winner after closing with a 77 on Tuesday. He topped another PBCC member, Don Gustovich by six strokes. Bellevue’s Brian Schubert, the school's athletic director, won low net at 142 in Group 1. Tom Bollenbacher did the same in the 60-64 age group. Randy Rankin, of Bellevue, did the same (143 net) in the 55-59 group.
Milan's Harry Perdue also had a great tournament, winning the net overall runner-up title. He backed his great 1-over par 72 on Monday with a 75 Tuesday. That gave him a net 135, three strokes behind Neal Gearhart.
TOURNAMENT NOTES: Three-time champion TJ Brudzinski, from Columbus, got off to tough starts both days. Monday was especially rocky. He took an eight on the third hole when he hit the wrong ball, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. He was five-over after the first three holes. ... First-year player Kinkhopf was cruising along Monday at four-under standing on 15 tee. Then Plum Brook put his teeth into him. He finished with four bogeys. ... Tournament champion Kelley was one of five players on the first page of the leaderboard with plus handicaps.
Rod Bordman 76-71—147 (145)
Chris Bleile 77-74—151 (143)
Roger Tolley 70 73—143 (143)
Harry Perdue 71-75—147 (135)
Randy Rankin 70-85—155 (145)
Brian Schubert 73-77—150 (142)
Jim Boling 81-81—162 (145)
Jan Sadoski 79-81—160 (136)
Bruce Boissoneault 85-84—169 (155)
Rick Souter 74-79—153 (139)
Kevin Asher 83-81—164 150)
Greg Palmer 84-83—167 (143)
Butch Allendorf 87-83—170 (146)
Bill Monaghan 88-77—165 (125)
Tom Bollenbacher 74-79—153 (135)
Pat Gioffre 85-90—175 (147)
Don Gustovich 85-84—169 (131)
Craig Soule 76-73—149 (147)
Harold Cassel 81-95—176 (150)