MADISON — As emotionally charged as his victory Sunday was at the American Family Insurance Championship, it's back to work Monday for Jerry Kelly.
"I'm sure this will take a lot out of me," the newly minted hometown champ said Sunday as he turned his attention to this week's U.S. Senior Open in South Bend, Indiana. "I'm leaving at 9:18 (Monday) morning and I'll get there at 1:30 (p.m.) and start that week. I'm really looking forward to the U.S. Open."
Kelly will be one of four Wisconsin golfers in the field at the Warren Course at the University of Notre Dame. AmFam host and runner-up Steve Stricker of Madison, Madison native and reigning Wisconsin State Senior Open champion Jim Schuman and Kenosha amateur Todd Schaap are also headed there.
A year ago, Kelly followed up a second-place showing at the AmFam event with a runner-up finish at the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. He placed 12th in 2017 at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Massachusetts.
"I think I conserved fairly well this week," Kelly said. "I didn't do my normal cooking and uncorking of wine that I normally would have. I have prepared myself well already for next week. ... That's the great thing about this sport and the worst thing: that ... we're all in first place for the next week right now. You've got to go stay there basically. I'd love to win that one as well."
Skip Kendall spinning wheels
Fox Point native Skip Kendall played a little better in the final round than he did the first two rounds, posting 75-74-71 to finish 71st. But he is clearly not happy with the state of his game.
“I don’t know,” he said. “The whole game is kind of non-existent right now. I’ve got a bunch of time off now so I’ll see if I can get it going for when I play again.”
Kendall, who lives in Windermere, Florida, conducted a junior clinic early in the week at Fairways of Woodside in Sussex. He is coming back to do more junior clinics at the course July 1 and 2 and again July 31 and Aug. 1.
Meanwhile, Kendall also coaches several talented young players in Florida, including Symetra Tour player Demi Runas.
“She’s great,” he said. “She could be potentially a superstar. She was on the LPGA Tour but lost her card, but she’s really good.”
Kendall puzzled by UW's struggles
Kendall expressed disappointment when he was told that two-time WIAA state champion Piercen Hunt of Hartland Arrowhead had accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Illinois. Hunt this past week won the Western Junior Championship.
“Going to Illinois? OK,” Kendall said with a laugh. “That’s the kind of stuff I don’t like to see, the state players going elsewhere. I don’t know what the deal is there. Obviously, when you’re that good and you have the opportunity to go (anywhere) … but why can’t this (the University of Wisconsin) be the place? Why (not) this place? It boggles my mind.”
Told that Marquette University won the Big East Conference this spring and moved into a new indoor facility, Kendall said, “You can’t tell me Marquette has more than they have right here. It’s mind-boggling. I actually talked to (UW athletic director) Barry (Alvarez) about that the other day.”
Kendall wouldn’t reveal what Alvarez told him.
“I can’t say,” he said. “I can’t say.”
Crossing the tees
The playoff Kelly won Sunday over tournament host Steve Stricker and Retief Goosen might have been the first at the AmFam Championship, but it was the fifth on PGA Tour Champions this year. It was also the first three-man playoff since the Chubb Classic in February, which Miguel Angel Jimenez won over Bernhard Langer and Olin Browne. ... This was the first playoff on PGA Tour Champions for Kelly, Goosen and Stricker. ... Charles Schwab Cup earnings leader Scott McCarron shot 71 in the final round and finished tied for 22nd, only his fifth finish outside the top 20 in 14 starts this season. ... Kelly moved into second place in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with $1,013,473, still more than $700,000 behind McCarron. Stricker is 10th at $702,327. ... Third-round leader Steve Flesch shot 73 in the final round to finish in a tie for 12th. ... Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and FOX Sports baseball analyst John Smoltz shot 4-under 32 on the back nine, his first nine Sunday, only to shoot 42 on the front and finish tied for 76th at 12-over.
Wisconsin.golf's Gary D'Amato contributed to this report