Kelly wins in Big Easy

Jerry Kelly ended seven years without a victory when he captured the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by a single stroke last night.

And afterwards the 42-year-old American said the best thing he heard from the crowd all day was two yells of “miss it” as he stood over a putt.

“I was not going to give them the satisfaction,” said Kelly after his one-stroke win over Charles Howell, Rory Sabbatini and Charlie Wi.

“We are in the sporting world and you are going to hear everything. You had better suck up and do your job.”

Three clear of the field overnight, Kelly found himself three behind with eight to play, but birdies at the 11th and 14th and four closing pars got the job done.

However, that was only because Howell, having looked so good in playing the first 11 in six under, bogeyed the 15th and 17th.

“I don’t know what to say,” commented the 29-year-old from Augusta.

“I got myself to 15 (under par) and in position to do it, but I didn’t finish it off.

“I would have loved to. I hit a lot of great shots, but I just wish I could have finished better.”

Sabbatini, meanwhile, lipped out with an eagle chip on the 16th that would have put him in a tie for the lead, but then missed his three-footer for birdie and bogeyed the 17th.

Two hundred events on from his last success – and just a week after taking a 10 and walking off the course when troubled by a dislocated rib and ’flu – Kelly’s closing 71 gave him a 14 under par total.

“After the 10th it was not my tournament to lose. It was mine to go get – that was the mindset I took,” he added.

First prize was more than $1.1m and Kelly has now earned approaching $20m in a career highlighted by one Presidents Cup appearance in 2003.

Ian Poulter finished leading European in a tie for 13th on eight under, but Brian Davis, Greg Owen and Scot Martin Laird were all disappointed to finish just behind him – and not just because they closed with bogey sixes.

Davis had climbed to joint second with four birdies in the first eight holes, but bogeyed three of the next seven, while Laird played the last eight in four over after standing joint sixth and Owen, having also covered the first 11 in three under, dropped back as well.

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