Kelly sets the pace


John Kelly, the 2008 winner of the Irish Order of Merit winner, set the target in the morning with a three-under-par 69 at the 102nd Irish PGA championship at Mount Juliet today (Friday).

The first round was to be played on Thursday but was cancelled due to an early deluge of rain and as a result the event is reduced from 72 to 54 holes with the top 50 and ties making it through to the final round on Sunday.

The rain returned in the afternoon with a heavy shower in mid afternoon but cleared up quickly

After three of the early starters Wayne O'Callaghan, Glen Robinson and Enda McLoughlin carded 70, they were quickly overtaken by Kelly.

The 40-year-old who plays out of Saint Margarets started on the back nine with a two tee start in operation along with preferred lies.

He birdied the par 5 tenth, his first hole, and the par 3 14th, but surrendered one of those shots at the par 3 third, only to birdie his last two par 5s, the fifth and eight.

Ominously he said that he had a lot of room for improvement.

"I didn't play great. It's good to get a bad round out of the way," said Kelly.

Two of the earlier pacesetters, Robinson and McLoughlin also played the course in reverse order.

Robinson made three birdies, one on his first nine at the par 5 17th, along with the first and fifth, but bogeyed the second, while McLoughlin said he putted nicely despite a three putt on the 12th as he mixed birdies with bogeys in his round. He cancelled out two birdies with the same number of bogeys on his front nine.

He then recorded two more successive birdies on the first and second holes, only quickly to give those shots back straight away by bogeying the next two holes. However, he got back on the birdie trail at the fifth and ninth.

Wayne O'Callaghan, also on 70, recorded three birdies, and bogeyed the last which was the only green he missed.

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