Kelly’s second in Nationwide Tour event increases odds of earning PGA Tour card

Troy Kelly shot a 1-under 70 in the final round Sunday, and ended in a three-way tie for second in the Rex Hospital Open, a Nationwide Tour event in Raleigh, N.C. The Central Kitsap grad and ex-UW golfer started the day in a three-way tie for first after shooting an 8-under 63 on Saturday, one off the TPC Wakefield course record.

Here’s the big news: It’s Kelly’s second second-place finish in his last four events and it paid $41,066. He earned first-place money ($99,000) at the Stadion Classic in Georiga because amateur Russell Henley won it. Kelly’s now No. 2 on the official Nationwide money list with $152,749. Matthew Goggin, who has played in two more events, leads with $195,898. The top 25 at the end of the season earn their PGA Tour cards for 2012.

Kelly said last month he would play in next week’s Wichita Open, but planned to skip the Mexico Open in Leon (June 23-26). After Mexico, the next Nationwide event will be the July 14-17 Chiquita Classic in Maineville, Ohio. There’s 16 more after that, including the Sept. 15-18 Boise Open and the $1 million Nationwide Tour Championship, Oct. 27-30, at Charleston, S.C.

Kelly could try some Monday qualifiers on the PGA Tour (he did that and tied for 57th at the Phoenix Open earlier) but with so much at stake, it makes sense to stick to the Nationwide Tour and keep adding to his money total. Another shot at the big tour and it’s big money is within reach and there’s no reason to take any chances now that he’s put himself in such a favorable position.

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