DES MOINES, Iowa — Jerry Kelly birdied the first hole of a playoff with Kirk Triplett on Sunday to win the PGA TOUR Champions Main Charity Classic.
Kelly hit his 4-foot approach on the par-4 18th to set up the winning putt. The 55-year-old from Wisconsin has nine PGA TOUR Champions victories after winning the PGA TOUR three times.
He pulled himself out of a putting slump with the help of Steve Stricker, his friend and neighbor from Madison, Wisconsin, who tied for eighth.
“It went well all week. I just had to keep my patience in it. That’s what sent me through, plus obviously Steve’s re-setting lesson. But that’s really patience. Because of that, because I was able to make a few putts, it really carried me through.
Kelly and Triplett each shot 5-under 67 to finish at 18-under 198 at the Wakonda Club, two shots ahead of Steven Alker and Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer.
Kelly came back from a blistering delay to play the last three holes of regulation, birdieing the par-3 17th. Triplett birdied the par-4 16th and closed with two pars.
“Just a good old-fashioned midwestern afternoon thunder pop-up,” Kelly said of the storm. “It didn’t last long, luckily. I didn’t even think we were going to need to hit any balls, but I’m glad I did because I found out my age in that first playoff practice.
Triplett, 60, won the last of his eight PGA TOUR championship titles in 2019.
Alker followed his second round of 64 with a 69. Winner of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship last week in Michigan, the 50-year-old New Zealander has four wins in his last 13 events.
Langer, 64, had four of nine birdies in 68.
Brett Quigley finished fifth at 15 under after a 70.
Paul Goydos (65) and Brandt Jobe (67) were at 14 under, and Stricker (67) and Kevin Sutherland (67) were at 13 under.
Stricker returned after having to withdraw from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship due to a positive COVID-19 test result. He won the Regions lore in his previous start.
Stricker will host the American Family Insurance Championship next week in Madison. Kelly is the two-time defending champion.