2021 SCHWAB CUP | Day 3 | Jerry Kelly

Madison's Jerry Kelly greets wife Carol on his way to the second tee on Day 3 of the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix CC.

PHOENIX — Carol Kelly is the one who once said that nobody has more fun being miserable than her husband, PGA Tour Champions golfer Jerry Kelly.

She is also the one who made sure Jerry Kelly didn't go there Saturday.

Three weeks removed from surgery to remove a cancerous right kidney, Carol Kelly returned to her husband's gallery for nine holes during the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. She saw Jerry extend to 45 holes his bogey-free streak to open the 2020-21 season finale on the senior circuit before departing at the turn and returning to their nearby winter home while her husband finished off a 1-under-par 70, dropping him eight spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 14th with a 36-hole total of 9-under 204.

After starting another picture-perfect day in the Valley of the Sun five shots off the pace, Kelly finds himself seven strokes behind third-round leader Jim Furyk, who shot 65 to move one shot in front of second-round leader Kirk Triplett, entering Sunday's final round. Most days, that reality would be a source of irritation to the fiery Kelly, but this day was different.

Kelly was all smiles as he talked to reporters about the milestone in his wife's recovery, her just being at Phoenix CC as she has for the last four Charles Schwab Cup finales since her husband turned 50 a few weeks after the 2016 edition.

"I mean, I get the chills right now thinking about it," Kelly said. "It's pretty awesome to have her here, No. 1. We'll have her here for a long time. It was first one back out, it meant a lot."

Jerry Kelly said he could tell his wife was eager to get back to the routine they have enjoyed on the PGA Tour and, now, the PGA Tour Champions for nearly 30 years. They hosted friends and family after Friday's second round — Jerry prepared a chicken dish over fried rice and Carol made a carrot cake — as they have done since escaping the Wisconsin winters a couple of years ago.

"Oh, yeah, she was itching to get out there," Jerry Kelly said. "She wasn't supposed to go nine, but she went ... nine. I hope she's feeling all right back home right now. (If not,) I'll go wait on her again."

Carol Kelly was the one who ordered "Nurse Jerry" to go back to his day job, first as they waited for surgery once the cancer diagnosis was made and then for last week's TimberTech Championship, the second stop on the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. Jerry Kelly withdrew from the first event of the PGA Tour Champions postseason to be at his wife's side the week of surgery and stayed with her during an idle week on the schedule before last week's event.

"It just felt like maybe she had a lower rib out, pulled a muscle in her side, just felt tired, didn't feel right," Jerry Kelly said, elaborating on comments he made Thursday about his wife's recent health scare. "There was some hematuria signs that we won't get into, but that was when it really started digging and we were still kind of sent along twice after that. It wasn't until the emergency room when she had buckled over from a blood clot that they did a CAT scan and found it."

It was then that Jerry Kelly was reminded what he already knew about his wife of nearly 27 years.

"She's always been the strong one of the pair, but it's really showing now," he said. "The positivity, the strength, her getting through an entire organ (being removed) — what she was going through for a year and didn't trust herself with the signs. She went through all the doctors and they kept on sending her home or to the next doctor.

"You know, we're blessed that it came out the way it did and we'll just keep going forward. She's definitely really a lot stronger than I am."

Then again, maybe some of that is rubbing off on Jerry. 

He showed great strength Saturday as what was an impeccable performance the first two rounds off the tee and into greens hit a few bumps in the road. Kelly hit 11 of 14 fairways — one fewer than Friday and two fewer than Thursday — and 13 of 18 greens, three fewer than each of the first two rounds. 

Meanwhile, for the third day in a row, Kelly needed 30 putts to solve the slippery greens at Phoenix CC. He is now T29 in putting this week and one of only two golfers outside of the top 18 in that department in the 35-player field.

"(I'm) trying not to be miserable out there," Kelly said with a chuckle. "No, I'm totally fine with it. We're having a good time. As she always said to me, nobody has more fun being miserable than me. I've definitely been having more fun."

It will likely take a whole lot of fun — particularly on the greens — for Kelly to give the leaders something to think about. Instead, if Carol is able to take in some of the action again Sunday, Jerry will do his best to make his wife proud, just as she has him of late.

"Yeah, I mean, you try and shoot 57 and that's about all you got, you know?" Kelly said. "Try to go as low as you can."

PGA Tour Champions: Madison's Jerry Kelly at Charles Schwab Cup Championship | Third-round results (Phoenix CC-Phoenix, Ariz.)

Pos. Player Total Thru Today R1 R2 R3 R4 Score
Wisconsin leaderboard
T14 Jerry Kelly -9 F -1 67 67 70 -- 204
Full leaderboard
1 Jim Furyk -16 F -6 65 67 65 -- 197
2 Kirk Triplett -15 F -2 65 64 69 -- 198
T3 Stephen Ames -14 F -6 67 67 65 -- 199
T3 Steven Alker -14 F -3 66 65 68 -- 199
5 Phil Mickelson -13 F -3 65 67 68 -- 200
6 Scott Parel -12 F -5 67 68 66 -- 201
T7 David Toms -11 F -6 66 71 65 -- 202
T7 Brandt Jobe -11 F -3 66 68 68 -- 202
T9 Bernhard Langer -10 F -8 68 72 63 -- 203
T9 Fred Couples -10 F -3 66 69 68 -- 203
T9 Darren Clarke -10 F -3 68 67 68 -- 203
T9 Brett Quigley -10 F -2 67 67 69 -- 203
T9 Vijay Singh -10 F -2 69 65 69 -- 203
T14 Steve Flesch -9 F -4 69 68 67 -- 204
T14 Jerry Kelly -9 F -1 67 67 70 -- 204
T14 K.J. Choi -9 F E 66 67 71 -- 204
T17 Kenny Perry -8 F -4 68 70 67 -- 205
T17 Miguel Angel Jiménez -8 F -2 70 66 69 -- 205
T19 Doug Barron -7 F -3 68 70 68 -- 206
T19 Paul Goydos -7 F -3 70 68 68 -- 206
T19 Alex Cejka -7 F -3 71 67 68 -- 206
T19 Wes Short, Jr. -7 F -2 67 70 69 -- 206
T19 Woody Austin -7 F -2 71 66 69 -- 206
T24 Kevin Sutherland -6 F -3 72 67 68 -- 207
T24 Glen Day -6 F -2 70 68 69 -- 207
T24 Robert Karlsson -6 F -2 70 68 69 -- 207
T27 Rod Pampling -5 F -5 69 73 66 -- 208
T27 Ernie Els -5 F -4 68 73 67 -- 208
T27 Colin Montgomerie -5 F -2 69 70 69 -- 208
T27 Mike Weir -5 F -1 68 70 70 -- 208
T27 Retief Goosen -5 F -1 70 68 70 -- 208
T27 Paul Broadhurst -5 F E 69 68 71 -- 208
33 Dicky Pride -3 F 3 67 69 74 -- 210
34 Tim Petrovic -1 F -4 72 73 67 -- 212
35 Gene Sauers E F -1 69 74 70 -- 213

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