Rocco Mediate, the guy with the bad back, looked over at Jerry Kelly, the guy with a bum knee, before they teed off Saturday in the second round of the Dominion Energy Charity Championship and set their collective bar low.
"Jer, it doesn't have to be pretty," Mediate told the Madison golfer.
The golf might not have been pretty, but it was effective.
Kelly shot a bogey-free 67 (and Mediate a 69), moving the No. 3 golfer in the Charles Schwab Cup standings into the top 20 heading into the final round of the first of three stops in the PGA Tour Champions playoffs at The CC of Virginia in Richmond. At 5-under-par 139, Kelly is tied for 19th place after 36 holes— six shots behind 64-year-old Jay Haas, who fired a 7-under 65 and took a two-stroke lead over Stephen Ames (67) and Scott Dunlap (68).
After an early-morning rain softened the course, Kelly took full advantage. He birdied his first hole and added two more birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 to make the turn in 3-under 33. His two birdies on the back nine came at Nos. 13 and 16 and, despite failing to birdie the par-5 18th hole, got him back in the hunt.
"It stopped raining right when we teed off, so that wasn't bad," said Kelly, who revealed this week that he sustained a knee injury in early September during a workout. "Birdieing the first hole just gives you those feelings like, 'OK, I can hit the ball and I can make a putt. Rocco and I, it's funny, he's going to get a shot in his back the beginning of next week, he's hurting bad. We were like groaning after every shot; it was really funny."
Of the 22 golfers in the top 20 after two rounds, Kelly is one of only three who is in the top 10 in the Schwab Cup standings. Of course, one of them is No. 1 Bernhard Langer, who won last week's final event of the regular season and shot 66 in Saturday's second round to move into a tie for fourth at 136.
"(I've) just got to get it done," Kelly said. "(I'm) back in the tournament."