Kelly in five-way tie for sixth spot at halfway mark

  • Golf
  • Sunday, 11 Oct 2020

Off it goes: Kelly Tan watches her shot from the 13th tee during the second round of the Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: National No. 1 women’s golfer Kelly Tan paid tribute to a group of “amazing” people who inspired her remarkable turnaround on the US LPGA Tour.

The 26-year-old has been going great guns since regaining her playing rights this season. And now she is heading into the last 36 holes of the Women’s PGA Championship with a great chance of securing not only her maiden LPGA Tour win but also a stunning Major triumph.

On Friday, Kelly bounced back from an early hiccup to shoot a 71 to sit just two shots behind leader Kim Sei-young of South Korea at two-under 138 total at the Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

Kelly is in a five-way tie for sixth spot that includes former world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand.

Kelly admitted that she had come a long way to reach where she is now where making the cut and being in the mix is something that she has become more accustomed to week in, week out.

And she could not have done it without the encouragement from her family and supporting team, particularly renowned coach Gary Gilchrist, who formerly trained Lydia and personal trainer Rich Hesketh.

“I just feel like I have a really great team of people around me ... my coach, my trainer,” said Kelly, who regained her LPGA Tour card this year after losing it in 2017.

“They’ve never stopped believing in me from day one, even though I doubted myself back then.

“So I thought that’s something that money probably couldn’t buy. I’m so grateful to them and my family.

“Just the support that I have is amazing.”

In Friday’s second round, Kelly surrendered her joint-leader position after conceding three shots in quick succession.

She bogeyed her first hole on the 10th, before fumbling again with a double bogey on the 12th. However, she recovered strongly with birdies on the 14th, 16th and second to get back in contention.

She marked her scorecard with one more birdie and two bogeys in the last five holes.

“I’m happy to be where I’m at. We have 36 more holes to go, and there’s a lot more golf left.

“I just want to keep hitting fairways and hitting greens, and just play my own game, one shot at a time.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Green is doing just as great on the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship.

The 26-year-old is tied for 10th and six shots adrift of co-leaders Shane Lowry of Ireland and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick at the halfway stage.

On Friday, Gavin followed up his opening 67 with a 71 to leave him on six-under 138 at the Wenworth Golf Club in Surrey.

It is the third time Gavin made the cut in the European Tour’s flagship event having previously tied for 52nd in his 2018 debut and was joint 72nd last year.

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