Jerry Kelly hangs onto Senior Players lead at Firestone

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Jerry Kelly bogeyed two of the last four holes for another even-par 70 on Firestone’s challenging South Course, leaving him with a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.

“It’s another tough day. It’s another tough golf course,” Kelly said. “I got a little loose on the back side for the second day in a row and got out of position and made some bogeys.”

The only player at par or better after two days in the PGA Tour Champions’ first major of the season, Kelly — at 2 under — had some company in red numbers going into the final round.

Woody Austin and Scott Parel each shot 67, and Colin Montgomerie had a 68 to get to 1 under on the testing course that was the longtime site of a PGA Tour event and later a World Golf Championship tournament.

Kelly played the back nine in 2 under with three birdies and a bogey to reach 4 under. He countered a bogey on the par-4 11th with a birdie on the par-4 13th, then dropped two more strokes with bogeys on the par-3 15th and par-4 17th.

“I could have made two or three more birdies,” Kelly said. “I was burning some edges. You’re going to make mistakes out here, I know that. I just need to make birdies to counteract those mistakes and limit the mistakes. So, even par is not a bad day. But I didn’t like giving them away.”

Parel rebounded from a bogey on 17 with a birdie on 18.

“Lucky for us, we had a little help off the tee, makes that hole a little shorter,” Parel said. “I hit a big drive yesterday and had a short shot, so I thought if I hit a good one, I would have a wedge in my hand. And I did. I hit a good shot and made a good putt.”

Austin had four birdies and a bogey.

“Really played good today,” Austin said. “Reminded me of a 30-something kid that used to hit it pretty good. I was struggling the first two days driving off the tee and today I drove it really well. And all my good irons kept going and I hit it really close. That’s probably the worst score I could have shot.”

Miguel Angel Jimenez was fifth at 1 over after a 69.

Ernie Els (68), Kenny Perry (68) and Scott Dunlap (69) were 2 over. Fred Couples followed a second-round 75 with a 68 to get to 3 over.

Bernhard Langer (71) and Steve Stricker (73) were 4 over.

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