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CHAMP News: Jerry Kelly earns Dominion Energy lead with bogey-free 65

Jerry Kelly short a pristine 7-under 65 to move two shots clear of the field after one round of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the first leg of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, on Friday in Richmond, Va.

Kelly rolled in five of his seven birdies on the front nine at The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course en route to the lead. Joe Durant, Bob Estes, Glen Day and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez were tied for second at 5-under 67.

“I love great starts, but that’s all they are, is great starts,” Kelly said. “I’d love to be in the lead and have a great finish, that would be really cool. Yeah, as long as I can stay in position, it’s just trying to close it out on Sunday.”

Kelly entered the week in fourth place in the Schwab Cup points standings. As the leaderboard stood Friday, a victory would push him up to second.

The top 54 players in the standings after Sunday will advance to the second leg of the playoffs, the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., in November. Estes, who entered the tournament on that bubble at No. 51, did himself a favor by converting an eagle on his way to a 67.

Estes started on the back nine and reached the green at the par-5 16th in two shots.

“I hit a really good drive and a 5-wood about pin high right at the hole about 15 feet on 16 and knocked that one right in the middle, so that was a real quick birdie-eagle turnaround after a shaky start,” he said.

He went on to make four more birdies and one bogey on the front nine.

Jimenez, fifth the in Schwab Cup standings, eagled the par-5 18th to conclude his round, also reaching the green in two before an uphill putt.

“Overall played very well, made only one mistake, one bogey on No. 8 where I missed in the wrong place and have a very bad lie in the bunker,” Jimenez said. “Then I make a couple of saves on the golf course, but overall I give myself a lot of chances for birdies.”

A large tie for sixth at 4-under 68 featured notable names like Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Ernie Els of South Africa, Germany’s Bernhard Langer and David Toms. Harrington entered the week second in the Schwab Cup standings, Els in sixth and Langer in seventh.

Steven Alker of New Zealand, the Schwab Cup leader, is tied for 15th at 3-under 69.

–Field Level Media

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