Stricker, Kelly win Shark Shootout
NAPLES, Fla. – Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly won Greg Norman’s Shark Shootout on Sunday, closing with a 13-under 59 in the final-round scramble for a one-stroke victory over three teams.
Stricker made an eagle on the par-5 17th – hitting the second shot and the putt – to give the longtime Madison, Wis., friends the lead.
Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes, three strokes ahead of Kelly and Stricker with five holes to play, both missed birdie putts on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff.
“It’s another feather in our cap,” said Stricker, the world’s No. 3 player who won three times on the PGA Tour this year. “This is a lot of fun. We came here to have fun and to play well at the same time, and we did that.”
Kelly and Stricker, who entered the round with a one-stroke lead, finished at 26-under 190 on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club course. They each earned $375,000 from the $3 million purse.
“We were a very good team,” Kelly said. “It didn’t seem like we were consistently in there with two really good birdie chances, but one of us always seemed to step up.”
Both Kelly and Stricker missed a lengthy birdie putt on No. 18 before Perry and Holmes both from 12 feet.
“We just let it get away,” Perry said.
Perry and Holmes closed with a 59 to match the teams of Chad Campbell and Tim Clark, and Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank at 25 under. Campbell and Clark shot a 57, and Leonard and Verplank had a 59.
It was the second Shootout title for Kelly, who also won with Rod Pampling in 2006.
Perry was trying to join Fred Couples and Steve Elkington by winning the Shootout three times with three partners. Perry won with Scott Hoch last year, but Hoch could not play this year after undergoing wrist surgery.
Perry and Holmes eagled the par-5 first hole, and birdied 11 of the next 13 to get to 25 under.
“It was on cruise control,” Perry said.
But they parred the last four holes. They were within 100 yards on the par-4 15th, and had a 5-footer for birdie on No. 16, but couldn’t convert.
“All of a sudden, the momentum kind of swung,” Perry said. “That’s kind of the beauty of a scramble. You’re never really done until you’re done in this deal.”
Stricker and Kelly struggled at the start, as they did during Saturday’s best-ball format. They made par on three straight holes in the middle of the front nine before making five straight birdies, then two pars. But they birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 16, and then made the eagle on No. 17.
Rickie Fowler turned 21 on Sunday, and the crowd on No. 18 sang “Happy Birthday” as his group approached the green. Fowler, who tied for 15th last Monday at Q-school to earn a PGA Tour card, and Chris DiMarco finished seventh at 20 under after a final-round 62.
Clark made the first hole-in-one since the event moved to Tiburon – “shark” in Spanish – in 2001. He used a 6-iron on the 183-yard 12th
Tournament Norman didn’t play in his event for the first time in its 21 years after having surgery on his right shoulder in September.