Jerry Kelly will turn 50 later this year and will be eligible for the Champions Tour, but he can still compete with the young guns.
Kelly posted two eagles while carding an 8-under-par at La Quinta Club and was tied for the lead with Jason Dufner, Jeff Overton and Anirban Lahiri of India after the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta.
“I don’t think I’ve really gotten to this golf course (before), but we rarely play it with no wind,” said Kelly, who has won three times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2009 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. “So I was really excited to play this one, because the new ones that we have, they’re a little longer than other ones for me. So, I figured I needed to get out there and get it while I could. And then see if I can keep a roll going on the tougher ones.
“I made one eagle all of last year, so I doubled that in my round. And I had one in Hawaii (last week), so I’ve tripled my eagle total of last year already. I was very happy with the way that I struck the ball. I had some good chances coming in. I lipped out (for) a bogey, I had some other lip-outs for birdies, but overall it was just solid golf.”
Dufner, the 2013 PGA champion, birdied four of his last six holes while finishing on the front nine of the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, where Overton made five straight birdies through No. 7, while Lahiri birdied seven of the first 13 holes at La Quinta.
Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe and USC holed out for an eagle on the fifth hole at La Quinta en route to a 54 and was tied for fifth with Colt Knost, who had five birdies on the front nine of the Nicklaus Course.
Spencer Levin of Elk Grove had an eagle on the 18th hole of the Nicklaus Course and came in at 66 to tie for seventh with defending champion Bill Haas (La Quinta), Ricky Barnes (La Quinta) of Stockton, Lucas Glover (Nicklaus Course), Adam Hadwin (TPC Stadium Course at PGA West) of Canada, Michael Thompson (La Quinta), Andrew Loupe (Stadium Course), Bryce Molder (La Quinta), Ben Martin (Nicklaus Course), Ben Crane (La Quinta) and Blayne Barber (La Quinta).
Charley Hoffman of Poway shot 67 at La Quinta and was in a tie for 18th that included Matt Kuchar (LaQuinta), Angel Cabrera (La Quinta) of Argentina, Graham DeLaet (Nicklaus Course) of Canada, Ryan Palmer (Stadium Course), Aaron Baddeley (Stadium Course) of Australia and Si Woo Kim (Stadium Course) of South Korea,
Two-time tournament champion Phil Mickelson was 6-under for 12 holes but had two bogeys down the stretch to shoot 68 at La Quinta and was in a tie for 32nd that included Jason Gore (La Quinta) of Valencia and Pepperdine, Brendan Steele (La Quinta) of Idyllwild and UC Riverside, Stewart Cink (La Quinta), David Hearn (Stadium Course) of Canada and David Lingmerth (Stadium Course) of Sweden.