Category Archives: Troy Kelly

Golf notes: Seattle Golf Show, Snorting Elk, Free golf, U.S. Open practice round tickets & more

The golf show, the golf show

Sunday is the final day of the Seattle Golf & Travel Show at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Cost is $14 for adults with youth 17 and under free.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Go to this website for more information.

Snorting Elk

The annual Snorting Elk tournament, held at Kitsap Golf & Country Club, drew a full field with 20 more golfers with handicaps of 0 or less. The field is probably the best for any tournament held on this side of the water.

Congratulations to Randy Grosz, a former Kitsap member now living in Portland, for putting it all together every year. Somebody from Oregon won with a 4-under 67. We’ll try to get complete results.

Free golf

In case you missed it, you can play Port Orchard’s Village Greens, an executive course run by Kitsap County Parks & Rec, for free on Monday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 871-1222 for information. PGA Club pro Ron Weir is also staging free clinics (12:30-1:30 p.m. full swing; 1:30-2:30 p.m. short game).

Practice round tickets available for U.S. Open

Tickets for the four rounds at the 2015 U.S. Open, being held at Chambers Bay in University Point on June 18-21, have been sold out, but you can still buy tickets for the practice rounds.

For $100, you can buy a gallery ticket for all three practice days (June 15-17). They are free for active-duty military and children 12 and under who are accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

For more information to to purchase tickets online, visit usga.org/tickets.

U.S. Open qualifiers

The Home Course in Dupont (May 11) and Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla (May 12) will be the only state courses hosting 18-hole local qualifiers for the  U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. They are two of 111 local qualifying sites across the country.

Pros and amateurs with a handicap 1.4 or lower are eligible. The top scorers at the local  qualifiers advance to play in sectional qualifiers, which take place June 8 in a 36-hole format at 10 courses around the country. Japan and England will host international sectional qualifiers on May 25.

Collegians

UCLA’s Erynne Lee, a senior from Central Kitsap, tied for third individually and helped the No. 5-ranked Bruins to a second-place finish at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in Baton Rouge, La. Lee finished at 1-under 215, moving up to No. 48 in the Golfstate collegiate rankings and dropping her scoring average to 72.9 in 18 rounds. The Bruins and Pepperdine co-host the Wave Classic March 2-3 at the El Callabero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif. No. 3 Washington is the highest-ranked team in the field.

UNLV’s Carl Jonson, senior from Bainbridge, shot 75-75-76 and tied for 49th at the John Bruns Collegiate in Hawaii. Jonson’s scoring average is 73.6 after 18 rounds. His best finish this season has been a sixth. The Rebels host the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters on March 9-11 at Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas.

Troy Kelly update

Central Kitsap grad and former UW golfer Troy Kelly has missed the cut in all four PGA Tour tournaments he’s entered this year. Still on a major injury exemption, Kelly has six tournaments left to earn $563,111 or 353 FedEx Cup points to maintain full-time playing privileges.

And finally, some linkage

ICYMI, Kitsap Golf & Country Club is opening its doors to the public beginning April 1. I wrote about it earlier this week.

Tiger Woods still No. 1 when it comes to earning money off the course, but the gap is closing, according to this Golf Digest story.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune wonders if Tiger Woods will be ready for the U.S. Open.

Jimmy Walker leads the PGA Tour money list with $2,281,345 in winnings. Ryan Moore of Puyallup is currently No. 10 and former Husky great Nick Taylor, a Canadian, is No. 26. Here’s some others: No. 42 Andres Gonzales (Olympia/UNLV), No. 61 Alex Prugh (Spokane/UW), No. 75 Spencer Levin (No. 75, grandfather was a Bremerton High grad/New Mexico); No. 94 Michel Putman (Tacoma/Pepperdine), No. 122 Andrew Putman (Tacoma/Pepperdine), No. 184 Kyle Stanley (Gig Harbor/Clemson).

 

 

Quick hits from the desert: Troy Kelly, Joey Dean, Seahawks, questions & more

Some quick hits on a Tuesday night from Super Bowl country:

TROY KELLY is entered in this week’s Humana Challenge, the PGA Tour event in La Quinta,  Calif. Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Tacoma, still has PGA status because of a Major Medical Extension he received after going through knee surgery in the 2013 season.

Kelly has 10 starts and needs to make $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his status. I’m not positive, but I think Kelly has to use those 10 starts this season. He missed two PGA cuts earlier in the fall, and took some time off to give an aching body some rest after not playing well. Kelly cashed in just two of nine Web.com Tour starts in 2014.

Kelly, now living in Tacoma, was based out of La Quinta for a few years and is familiar with the Nicklaus and Palmer courses at PGA West.

In case you missed it, Bob Kelly (Troy’s dad) operates Hackers Bar & Grill at Madrona Links in Gig Harbor.

JOEY DEAN is MCing the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Kiana Lodge on Saturday (11 a.m. social hour, dinner and program at noon). The 1984 Olympic High state championship baseball team is among the teams being inducted. Dean was in the class of ’83 at Oly and played football and baseball. He’s also got some motorsports history and, of course, remains one of the most popular singer/songwriters in Kitsap County. Nice for Joey to give back to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, the non-profit that puts on the annual HOF shindig.

PLAYED SOME GOLF Tuesday in Gilbert, Arizona, where the weather was outstanding (76 degrees), and the company even better. The golf game? I’m not talking about mine, but Glenn Carden hit ’em straight and far while shooting a 78 at Western Skies Golf Course.

SOME OF US DEBATED this question on Twitter Sunday night: What’s the greatest game in Seattle sports history. Was it the Seahawks unbelievable NFC Championship comeback victory over the Packers on Sunday, or the Mariners’ win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS in 1995?

For me, it’s the football game. It was stunningly, mind-blowing, coming from 12 down with 3 minutes left to win the way they won after playing so poorly on offense. I’m a baseball guy but to be in a position to win back-to-back Super Bowls trumps what Edgar, Junior, Randy and Lou’s Boys did on that magical night in the Kingdome.

What do you think?

IF YOU COULD SPEND an evening with one Seahawk, who would it be? Russell Wilson? Marshawn Lynch? Richard Sherman? Earl Thomas? Jon Ryan? Pete Carroll? Who’s your guy?

PETER KING of mmqb.si.com writes that the Seahawks need to feed the Beast if they want to win Super Bowl 49. I couldn’t agree more.

QUICK, NAME the only team to beat the Seahawks and Patriots this season? Yep, Kansas City.

BROADCASTER BILL WALTON called the Pac-12 basketball game between Utah and Arizona in Tucson on Saturday. Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic tailed Walton at the Pac-12 Networks crew before and during the game.

At one point, Walton wished Muhammad Ali a happy 73rd birthday and shared a favorite Ali quote: “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can surely make something out of you.”

ANOTHER PAC-12 BROADCASTER, MIKE MONTGOMERY, got a call from former South Kitsap athlete and Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote recently. “He said, ‘You’ve got a face for radio’ and hung up,” said Montgomery during a recent broadcast. Heathcote and Montgomery, the former Stanford and Cal coach, are both part of the Montana coaching tree. Heathcote, 87, is still living in Spokane, and remains an avid follower of Gonzaga and college hoops.

I WROTE ABOUT ASHLI PAYNE, sophomore guard at Umpqua CC, last month. I’m glad to see I didn’t jinx the Olympic High grad. She’s eighth in the 32-team Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring (17.28 points), sixth in rebounding (8.83), ninth in assists (4.28), 10th in free-throw shooting (82.3%) and 20th in steals (2.13). You can see why her coach, Dave Stricklin, thinks she’s the best player in the NWAC.

 

 

 

 

Troy Kelly starts 2014-15 PGA season with 1-under 71

Troy Kelly got his 2014-15 season off to a decent start, firing a 1-under 71 at the Frys.com Open. The Central Kitsap grad was one of the early starters and was tied for 41st as I write this, but there are still several players on the course (Silverado CC-North) in Napa, California.

Here’s the deal for Kelly: The 36-year-old, now living in Tacoma, has 12 starts left on a major medical extension to collect $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his PGA Tour status. He has just one top-35 finish in 54 PGA Tour starts, and he tied for first, losing a playoff to Ted Potter at The Greenbrier Classic in 2012. That got him a spot in the British Open.

Kelly couldn’t keep the momentum going, then he missed 11 months, recovering from knee surgery. He made just two of eight cuts on the Web.com Tour and missed cuts in both PGA events he played last year.

Chip shots: Kelly birdied three of his last four holes on Thursday, but also had bogeys on No. 14 and 16. … Andres Gonzales of Olympia, a Web.com grad, is leading the Frys.com Open with a 6-under 66. … The tour moves to Las Vegas next week for the Shiners Hospital for Children Open. You can follow the Frys.com Open here.

The Jet, Willie, Seahawks, Hammel, World Cup & more

Here we go, in no particular order:

Dude can fly: James (The Jet) Jones is up to 14 steals (he’s been caught once) through Tuesday and considering he didn’t get his first one until May 1, that’s pretty impressive. Michael Saunders led the Seattle Mariners with 13 steals a year ago. Ichiro (438 steals during his time in Seattle), Jose Cruz (290) and Harold Reynolds (228) are Seattle’s all-time leaders in steals, but the M’s have never had a lot of speed guys. Willie Bloomquist (71) ranks No. 11 in steals in franchise history. Jones, if he’s as good as I think he might be, could pass Willie in the summer of 2015.

Speaking of Willie: The South Kitsap grad is hitting .278, and get this — the M’s are 18-7 when he starts (through Tuesday). That’s the stat that matters, right?

Sherm shuts up: Richard Sherman’s never been at a loss for worlds, but he reportedly isn’t speaking to the media, upset with the Seattle Times because the newspaper published the address of his new home. Got to side with Sherm on that one. Some things don’t need to be printed, and that’s one of ’em.

Speaking of Seahawks: Sherman, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have all been nominated for ESPYs. 

World Cup fever: Portugal’s late goal in extra time against the U.S. in the World Cup was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t take long for me to get over the 2-2 tie. I’m really looking forward to see how Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do against Germany on Thursday (9 a.m. ESPN). Klinsmann is a former German star, a legend in his country. He played on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached the 2006 German World Cup team. Germany is now coached by Joachim Lowe, a protege of Klinsmann. The U.S., which needs a tie to move on to the round of 16, has five players who grew up in Germany. This one promises to be emotional. I can’t wait.

Speaking of soccer: How ’bout those Pumas? Kitsap’s soccer club is 6-0-4 and has opened a seven-point lead in the Northwest Division of the PDL. Coach Andrew Chapman, the Olympic High grad who has turned Peninsula CC into an NWAACC power, seems to be making all of the right decisions. The Pumas are one of six unbeatens in the 64-team league. Kitsap won a national title in 2011, and it looks like the Pumas are going to make another serious run this summer.

BlueJackets bashing: Kitsap’s summer college baseball team, the BlueJackets, are off to a good start. Kitsap’s 8-5 and just a half-game back of Bellingham in the Western Division of the West Coast League (through Tuesday). They boast the No. 1 (Danny Woodruff, .453) and No. 3 (Alex Bush, .395, 2 HRs, 15 RBI) hitters. Woodruff’s an outfielder from Creighton who played in just seven games as a freshman. Bush is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound first baseman/DH who just graduated from high school in Turlock, California. He’s going to be a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Kitsap’s second in hitting (.296 average) and eighth in pitching (5.46 ERA) in the 12-team wood-bat league.

Hammel report: Jason Hammel, the 2000 South Kitsap grad who is having a fine season (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 91 Ks, 20 BBs, 96.1 IP, 1.017 WHIP) for the Chicago Cubs, continues to be linked to the Mariners. This report says the Cubs and M’s have had serious talks, and that Chicago wants RHP Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s third-round pick in the 2012 draft, to be part of the package.

Minor league report: Brady Steiger (South Kitsap/WSU/Lewis-Clark St.) hit his first home run as a pro over the weekend. He plays for the Class A Staten Island Yankees. … Drew Vettlesen (Central Kitsap) wrapped up an eight-game rehab stint with the Auburn Doubledays. He was 4-for-4 on Friday and hit .318. The outfielder, who broke a bone in his hand when hit by a ball in April, is back with the Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators (Nationals) of the Eastern League. He was 2-for-3 with a stolen base on Tuesday. … Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap/Everett CC) hitting .258 with no homers and 20 RBI for the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) of the Pacific Coast League.

Back on the tee: Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad whose 2013 golf season was derailed by a knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA Tour events, is resuming his comeback. He played in four Web.com events earlier, but made just one cut and wasn’t satisfied with his game, so he returned to Tacoma to work on it. There might be some rust when he plays in this week’s Web.com tournament in Newburgh, Indiana. He’s using it as a tuneup for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the following week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Kelly’s got fond memories of Greenbrier, where he shot 6-under 63 in the third round in 2012 to get into contention. He closed with a 66 and wound up losing a playoff on the third hole to Ted Potter. Kelly plans to play four straight weeks. He’ll head to Illinois for the John Deere Classic in Illinois after the Greenbrier Classic before returning to Boise, Idaho, for another Web.com stop. … Kelly’s brother Ryan, his caddie, finished second in the Tacoma City Amateur over the weekend.

Coming Friday: I’ll be writing about “The Legend” later this week. That would be 83-year-old Buzz Edmonds, a three-time winner of the Kitsap Amateur, nine-time club champ at Kitsap Golf & Country Club and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I chatted with Buzz and some of his golfing buddies earlier this week. The story will publish Friday.

Nice sendoff: South Kitsap’s three-sport star Logan Knowles, who is headed to the Naval Academy to play baseball, wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the consolation game of the Washington State All-State Baseball Series in Yakima. His home run was the only one hit during the weekend.

Recommended reading: Charlie Pierce, who writes for Grantland,com, among other outlets, weighed in on the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that is going on. He writes:

” … If you are a college athlete, you must — willingly or unwillingly — help the NCAA and its member institutions keep faith with Coca-Cola. One of the ugly moral truths about all our sports is that athletes represent one of the categories of Americans who can be legally and publicly treated as commodities, and nowhere is that truth more obvious, and more ugly, than in college athletics, where the athletes are not only forbidden from profiting from their own commodification, but also required to help the institutions they represent to profit from it. Then they have to hear the people who profit most from the commodities who play ball for them tell a judge that they’re doing it only for the athlete’s own good. This trial is about the NCAA’s desire to maintain that arrangement forever. Unless you’re afflicted with a kind of moral myopia, this is no less than grotesque.”

 

Tuesday ramblings and notes: Heathcote, Hammel, TyBaum, Erynne/earthquake & more

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE champion Wichita State enters the NCAA Tournament unbeaten and seeded No. 1 in the Midwest region. The last time a Missouri Valley Conference team entered the tournament unbeaten was 1979, when Larry Bird and Indiana State was grabbing all of the headlines in March.  The No. 1-ranked Sycamores didn’t come away with the title, though.

“Somebody beat them in that championship game,” said Jud Heathcote during a conversation Monday. “It’s been so long, I can’t remember who is was.”

The 86-year-old Heathcote was joking. The South Kitsap grad who grew up in Manchester was the coach of the Michigan State Spartans that year. The Spartans, with a gangly point-guard named Magic Johnson, beat Bird and the Sycamores in the most-watched game in college basketball history.

Heathcote, who lives in Spokane and has season tickets to Gonzaga games, will be in the stands this week when Michigan State plays its first-r0und East regional game on Thursday. Sparty faces Delaware at Veteran Memorial Arena in Spokane. My weekly Thursday column will center on Heathcote, who is still funny as ever and still consumed by the college game.

JASON HAMMEL OF THE CHICAGO CUBS starts Tuesday night in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers. It’ll be just his second Cactus League start, but the right-hander out of South Kitsap High hasn’t been inactive. He’s started a “B” game and went six innings last Thursday against Cubs minor leaguers.

“My first year with the (Orioles), because Florida Spring Training is all (American League) East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel told MLB.com.  “As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

WAS HOPING ONE-TIME Olympic College basketball coach Ken Bone would get over the hump at Washington State, but too many injuries and lack of depth were his undoing. Seattle U might be a good fit for Bone if Cameron Dollar gets the axe, and it’s been suggested that he might. A lot of people forget that Bone was 77-49 in four years at Portland State, taking the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament his last two years. Bone was 254-97 in 12 years at Seattle Pacific.

Also

Glad to see I didn’t jinx Tyler Baumgartner with this column. The Central Kitsap grad, a senior outfielder at Oregon, was 5-for-11 in a three-game series against USC. Baumgartner was 2-for-5 with a bases-clearing double in a 7-2 series-clinching win on Sunday. He’s now hitting .400 through 19 games. …. Former North Kitsap  and Washington State athlete and ex-professional baseball player Jared Prince is an assistant with the South Kitsap baseball team. Prince, who is living in Tacoma and working toward his masters in education at the University of Puget Sound, was also an assistant with SK’s football team. He’s doing his student teaching at South. … Bremerton’s Marvin Williams has missed 12 NBA games this season because of various injuries. The Utah Jazz are 0-12 in those games. His numbers (9.5 points, 5.1  rebounds) aren’t eye-popping, but the 27-year-old forward has become a solid all-around player and leader for the young Jazz.  … I was always impressed with Denise Baxter, who announced that she is retiring at Central Kitsap as the girls basketball coach. Her teams always played hard and she had a no-nonsense approach and she didn’t seem to let those bothersome parents (you know the ones) get in her head. Central Kitsap’s lucky to have had her around for 20 years.  … Bremerton High grad Jack Evans passed away recently in California. Evans was a member of the 1953 Bremerton High baseball team thet was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. … Former Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Liviu Bird is now writing about soccer for SI.com, among other outlets. Here’s  his story on the Toronto FC after the 2-1 win over the Sounders. … Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly plays in the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship in Panama City this week. After a tie for 23rd in Chile, he missed the cut by two strokes in Brazil last week. He plays in the Louisiana Open in Broussard, La., next week, then returns to the PGA Tour, teeing it up in the Houston Open, April 3-6. … Central Kitsap alum Drew Vettleson got a couple more at bats in a Grapefruit League game for the Washington Nationals. He’s 0-for-3 in two appearances with the big club this spring. … UCLA junior golfer Erynne Lee, a Central Kitsap grad who was picked to play in the Curtis Cup, tweeted this from Los Angeles on Monday:  “Woke up from a nightmare by an earthquake just now. #frazzled #homesick” … Keep your eye on Ben Tamm, hard-throwing  freshman pitcher at Everet CC. The North Kitsap grad was named MVP of fall ball and has got off to a good start for the Trojans.

Monday musings and notes …

Let’s get to it …

Good news for the Seahawks and their fans: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett reportedly turned down more money to  sign a four-year deal with the Seahawks. That’s a big signing as the versatile Bennett was a big part of the NFL’s best defense. He was Seattle’s best pass rusher. What’s the next priority, wide receiver Golden Tate or defensive linemen Clinton McDaniel or Tony McDonald? Tate’s such a good fit, at receiver and as a punter returner, and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him. If he’s willing to take a lesser deal to stay, why not?

34-0: Haven’t paid much attention to NCAA hoops this season, but it’s hard not to pull for unbeaten Wichita State.  They got to the Final Four as a No. 9 seed a year ago. They should be a No. 1 seed this year. If the Shockers run the table, they would be 40-0.  Talk about March Madness.

Willie Bloomquist update: Willie was 3-for-3 on Sunday and seemingly fitting in with the Mariners like a glove. The veteran utility player from South Kitsap is going to be a McCormick Woods Golf Course on April 10 to help raise money for a new scoreboard at the South Kitsap baseball field, which will be re-named for the late, great coach Elton Goodwin. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable is hosting the event. More details — time, cost, etc. — later this week. Meanwhile, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote about Bloomquist on Sunday.

More Mariners: I know it’s only spring training, but lots of young Mariners are having solid camps in Peoria. Cole Gillespie has caught my eye. Former Oregon State outfielder is hitting .533 (7-for-15) with a double, triple and 7 RBI. He can play left or right. Hit .300 and .308 at Triple-A Reno in 2011 and 2012 with brief MLB duty with Arizona. He spent parts of 2013 with Giants and Cubs. If Corey Hart isn’t ready to go full-time at the start of the season, or if Michael Saunders doesn’t produce, could there be room for a solid, all-around guy like Gillespie? He’s 29. Maybe it’s his time?

Hot, hot hot: Olympic College’s Greta Coleman, sophomore from Kingston, is 9-for-13 in her last three games, all OC victories. She has had four doubles and seven RBI in that stretch, including a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh against Southwest Oregon on Sunday when she ripped a line shot to RCF on an 0-2 count. Coleman and Alexa Eckonomakis are transfers from Shoreline, which dropped its program for a year after going through coaching changes.

Nice RAC: Olympic College’s softball had an opportunity to play at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Sunday. Four fields with turf infields and grass outfields. (There’s also six regulation soccer/football/rugby fields). Best complex around. Wonder if the Kitsap rec departments or school districts will ever get one  turfed field for baseball or softball. We’re so far behind you wonder if we can ever catch up.

Troy Kelly birdied three of his final four holes on Sunday to tied for 23rd in the PGA Tour’s Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile. Nice effort after being out of competition for a year. Kelly plays three more Web.com Tour events — in Brazil, Panama and Louisiana — before returning to the PGA Tour at the Houston Open.

Black and red and winning: Did you see who broke out his red shirt and black pants on Sunday while winning a PGA Tour event? Yeah, Patrick Reed, the latest young gun. This Reed guy might be the real thing. He’s 23 and he’s already won three tour events. And he’s pretty confident, too. Pretty confident? Hell, he’s Larry Bird/Muhammad Ali/Richard Sherman on grass. Read this New York Daily News story to get a flavor.

More golf news: UNLV’s Carl Jonson, a junior from Bainbridge, tied for eighth and helped the Rebels win the Collegiate Masters at South Highland Golf Course in Las Vegas.  Jonson shot 4-over 70-78-72—220 and tied for eighth individually in a tournament that featured the toughest field of the season.

The Fat Drug: Nothing to do with sports, but this New York Times story is pretty enlightening.

MLB at-bat: Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson got into a spring training game with the Washington Nationals on Saturday. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.

Interview on deck: Scheduled to talk to Central Kitsap grad and Oregon Duck outfielder Tyler Baumgartner on Tuesday. Baumgartner’s off to a great start. Hope we don’t jinx him.

 

Wet stuff drives you crazy & links on Hammel, Willie B., T. Kelly & RV2

Spent about nine hours on the road and at the ballpark today, and what did we have to show for it?

Nothing. Such is life if you’re part of a softball or baseball team that’s trying to get in some games in the Northwest. Mother Nature comes out on top a lot and it prevailed once again.

After warming up in the rain for 90 minutes at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex (known as The RAC), games were cancelled and the Olympic College softball team headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then a drive home in the driving rain. In case you’re wondering, I’m a volunteer assistant.

It’s now closing in on 9:30 p.m. I’m home. It’s still raining and I’m watching Washington State school UCLA in basketball, and wondering if it would be better to just go to bed. We lose an hour of sleep tonight, and the vans leave at 8:30 a.m. for another trip to Lacey, where the artificial turf could be playable. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, here’s some links:

Jason Hammel pitches three shutout innings for  the Cubs in his first official spring game of the season. The South Kitsap grad walked three batters in the first inning, but got out of the jam. Afterwards, he said he might have been a bit nervous.

Willie Bloomquist, who delivered an RBI single on Saturday,  says he’s happy to be a Mariner. “Who gets to put a uniform on twice and play in your hometown?” he told Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Troy Kelly had an eagle on the par-5 14th hole and shot 2-under 70 in the third round of the Chile Classic at Santiago, Chile. The 35-year-old Central Kitsap grad is 7-under for the tournament and tied for 25th heading into Sunday’s final round of the Web-com Tour stop. He’s six strokes off the lead. Tacoma’s Andrew Putman is tied for seventh after a 4-under 68. He’s at 206 for three rounds. Putman was second in the Web.com’s season opener at Puerto Rico. His bother, Michael Putnam, was the Web.com’s Player of the Year in 2013. Ex-Husky and Canadian Nick Taylor is tied for 50th after carding a 70 on Saturday.

Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto ended his five-race winless streak with a wire-to-wire win at Daytona. The Poulsbo rider with the RV2 moniker grabbed the lead at the start and won by over 12 seconds despite a fall. “So pumped to get the win tonight! This one felt good!” he tweeted.

 

Golf notes: Kelly tees it up in Chile; St. Patty’s Shootout at Rolling Hills

Troy Kelly is playing in the Chile Classic, a Web.com Tour event that starts Thursday in Santiago, Chile.

The CK grad is playing in his first PGA event in almost a year. Kelly’s last event was the Valero Texas Open last April. He left the tour with a knee injury that required surgery and now has five rehab starts on the Web.com Tour before heading back to the PGA Tour. He’ll play four straight Web.com events before the PGA’s Houston Open.

Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad, and his family moved from LaQuinta, Calif., to Tacoma, in the last year. His brother, Ryan, remains his caddy.

Tacoma’s Andrew Putnam, who was second in the season-opening Web.com tournament in Columbia, is entered. So is Nick Taylor, the former Husky great.

Update: Kelly shot a 1-under 71 and is tied for 54th after the first round.

Remember Russell Henley?

Former University of Georgia star Russell Henley won the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic last week. Henley, then an amateur, won the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at Athens, Ga., in 2011, beating Kelly by two strokes. Henley wasn’t eligible for the $99,000, which went to Kelly. The money helped Kelly secure his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season.

News from the NWGMA

The Northwest Golf Media Association held its first meeting of 2014 in conjunction with last weekend’s Seattle Golf Show.

I wasn’t able to make it, but here’s a bit of news that came out of the meeting, courtesy Craig Smith, the NWGMA secretary.

Gig Harbor’s Larry Gilhuly, director of the Western Region of the USGA Green Section, reviewed the “firsts” for the 2015 U.S. Open that will be held at Chambers Bay at University Point.

It will be the first time the Open will be played in the Northwest.

It will be the first time the tournament will be played on fescue grass.

It will be the first time the Open will be held on a links course.

It’ll be the first time the FOX network covers the Open.

Par will be 70 and Gilhuly repotted that the tee box on the par-4, 16th has been moved closer to Puget Sound.

More notes from the NWGMA meeting:

TheWeb.com Tour will play the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on Aug. 21-24.  The final three days overlap with the Champion Tour’s Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie. … The state’s newest course, Gamble Sands, in Brewster, will open to the public on Aug. 2. Green fees for non-residents will be $130 ($150 with cart). Gamble Sands is designed by David McLay Kidd, who designed the original Bandon Dunes course. … The USGA’s 2014 Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships will be played July 14-19 at The Home Course in Dupont. This is the final year of the championship. The USGA is replacing the men’s and women’s APL with four-ball (best ball) events. … Eric Steiner of the USGA reported that it took only 36 hours to fill the U.S. Open’s 4,500 volunteer positions. The assistant manager of the 2015 Open called it “unprecedented enthusiasm,” for the event.

Also

John Hurley’s St. Patty’s Day Shindig is Saturday, March 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Rolling Hills Golf Club. It features corned beef dinner and music by Seattle’s Phil Randoy combo. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.,dinner at 3:30 p.m. The St. Patty’s Day Shootout, a two-person scramble, tees off at Rolling Hills at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $32.50 per team. It’s $20 for non-golfers to attend the Shindig.

 

Quick Hits: Kelly, Seahawks, Hammel & more

QUICK HITS AND THOUGHTS

Wonder if the PGA tour will ever get around to correcting the info on Troy Kelly’s bio? It still says he’s a graduate of West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, where he was a first-team all-league guard. Kelly was a first-team all-league guard … at Central Kitsap. Kelly, coming off knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA events a year ago, gets his 2014 season started next week at the Web.com Tour’s Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship in Bogota, Columbia. Kelly gets five Web.com Tour tuneups, and will have 14 more PGA Tour tournaments to earn $577,828 to keep his full-time playing privilege.

I’m looking forward to listening to Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf, who will be covering the skeleton competion at the Sochi Olympics for NBC. Follow her on Twitter @BreeSchaaf. Skeleton will be held over four days, Feb. 13-16. Schaaf was a bobsledder in the last Olympics, placing fifth at Vancouver.

In case you missed it, as I did while playing in Vegas last weekend, South Kitsap grad Jason Hammel several national media outlets reported that he had signed a one-year deal for a reported $6 million with the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander, who spent last season with the Baltimore Orioles, could earn an extra $1 million in incentives, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The Cubs have not confirmed the report, pending Hammel passing a physical. Hammel, 31, was 7-8 (4.97 ERA) in 23 starts and three relief appearances last season. He missed time with soreness in his right elbow.

I still can’t get that first play of the Super Bowl out of my head. Might have been the earliest turning point in the history of big sporting events. Denver’s mistimed snap ended up as a safety for the Seahawks. It was only 2-0, but you had a feeling, at least I did, that it was going to be Seattle’s day.

My buddy, Don Lay, and I chatted with one of Richard Sherman’s proud cousins at the Palace Station sports book on Super Bowl Sunday in Vegas. Yoseph (didn’t catch his last name) grew up in Compton and works for the schools in Las Vegas. He sported a braided pony tail (says long hair is a family trait) and was decked out in Seahawks’ gear. Asked if he thought Sherman would ever be a national figure, Yoseph shook his head. “I thought he might make the NFL, but as a wide receiver,” he said. “That’s what he played in high school.” Yoseph’s phone was full of photos Sherman was sending to family members and friends, some on the day of the game.

How amazing would it be if Hawks’ owner Paul Allen could become a two-time world champion this year? His Portland Trail Blazers have a legit shot.

Anybody looking forward to seeing what Percy Harvin can do for a full season if he’s healthy?

The first recruiting class of Husky football coach Chris Petersen wasn’t highly rated but the coach landed six in-state recruits, including the two best in Bellevue’s Budda Baker and 6-8, 285-pound lineman Kaleb McGary from Fife. That’s huge. Baker, a defensive back, will likely return punts and kickoffs and don’t be surprised to see him on offense, too. I’d envision the Huskies using him on fly sweeps and in other situations where they can take advantage of his electrifying talents.

Willie Bloomquist wore No. 16 the first time around with the Mariners. It wasn’t his choice. The South Kitsap grad was assigned the number when he was brought up at the end of the 2002 season. He wore No. 18 in Arizona, but that number was already taken by Hisashi Iwakuma, so he settled on No. 8 for his second tour of duty.

Speaking of Iwakuma, let’s not go to sleep on this guy. Based on last year, you could make the argument that he could be Seattle’s best pitcher. Yes, even better than Felix Hernandez. Iwakuma was 14-6 in 219.2 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Hernandez was 11-10 in 204.1 innings with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

The Alex Rodriguez circus won’t be doing business this year. A-Rod dropped his lawsuits against MLB and the players’ union. It’s pretty much an admittance of guilt. Now the only question is: Will he come back to play in 2015? He’s got to sit out 211 games, so he would be eligible to join the Yankees sometime in May of ’15. He’ll be 39, but there will be plenty of incentive. Rodriguez is scheduled to earn $61 million for the 2015-2017 seasons. 

Congratulations to the Bremerton Knights for winning a Class 2A state bowling title, and good luck to the rest of the local prep athletes and teams as they head into the postseason.

I jumped the gun on that last one. Bremerton leads the state bowling tournament after the first day. Good luck Knights! Same for the rest of our teams and athletes who will be starting the postseason in the near future.

 

 

Links and thoughts while waiting for the government to rev back up

Shooting from the hip with linkage while waiting for the government to reopen:

Four weeks into the season, Don Banks at SI.com’s MMQB has the Seahawks and Broncos in the Super Bowl with Seattle winning 33-30.

My weekly Thursday column for The Sun was about the Mariners’ managerial search. I like Joe Maddon, so why not give his bench coach, Dave Martinez, a long look. He might be the answer.

Was going to head across the water to see Robert Earl Keen play some music, but never made it Wednesday night. Keen, a clever singer/songwriter from Texas, once competed in the rodeo as a bull rider. He’s what he had to say about riding a bull: “It’s like being in a can going 70 mph down the freeway and chucking the steering wheel out the window.”

I know it’s way too early to start thinking about it, but how cool would it be if the Saints and Seahawks are both 11-0 when New Orleans rolls into town Dec. 2 for a Monday night game at the Clink? Russell Wilson vs. Drew Brees, two quarterbacks who were supposed to be too short to play in the NFL. There are no gimmes on the schedule, but Seattle’s toughest tests should be at Indianapolis this week and at Atlanta on Nov. 10. The Saints’ schedule is tougher, starting with road games at Chicago and New England the next two weeks and another one at Atlanta. New Orleans also has to play San Francisco.

How will No. 15 Washington match up physically against No. 5 Stanford Saturday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN)? That seems to be the storyline going into the game. Can the Huskies, allowing just 3.80 yards per play, slow down the Bruisers from Palo Alto? It’s an intriguing matchup: Washington’s outstanding team quickness and up-tempo offense, similar to what Oregon’s used to become one of college’s elite teams, against a Cardinal team that would look a lot like Alabama if you put them in some Crimson Tide uniforms. Steve Rudman of Sportspressnw.com poses the question: Can Washington can with an elite team on the road?

I have to admit that Washington is better than I thought they’d be. Bishop Sankey’s the real deal at running back. The nation’s leading rusher is so good in open space, but he’s better in the trenches than I thought he was. And after carrying the rock 40 times against Arizona, you know he’s durable. And don’t sleep on UW defensive lineman Danny Shelton. Only a sophomore, he’s Washington’s version of J.J. Watt, the Texans’ one-man wrecking crew. Shelton’s the guy doing all of the dirty work in the middle of the line, absorbing double-teams to free up teammates for tackles.He anchors a Husky defensive line known as the “Flintstones.” Read about it here.

I still can’t get that Golden Tate punt return out of my mind. It’s overtime and he fields the ball at the goal-line, maybe a yard deep, and gets it out to the 31. It set up the Seahawks’ game-winning field goal against Houston. I wonder what special teams coach Brian Schneider was thinking when he saw Tate take off.

Los Angeles Times writer Chris Defresne believes USC’s coaching search should send with Steve Sarkisian, providing the coach is willing to leave Washington. For Sarkisian, he seems to be managing the distraction well. At least better than Rick Neuheisel did during his days at Washington, writes Art Thiel of sportspressnw.com

Stewart Mandell of SI.com writes that the Washington Huskies are on the verge of becoming relevant after being down for so many years.

Talked to bobsledder Bree Schaaf today. U.S. Bobsled Trials are next week in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Olympian from Bremerton is ready to go after a year’s worth of intense training. Look for the story next week.

PGA Tour golfer Troy Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad, has moved back to the Northwest. He’s living in the Lakewood/Steilacoom area after calling La Quinta, Calif., home the past few years.