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Here’s how Rockford Lutheran grad Jeff Kellen fared in the first round of PGA Championship

By admin May31,2024

Jeff Kellen, only the third Rockford golfer to qualify for a PGA Tour Major championship in over 40 years, struggled Thursday in his opening round of the PGA Championship, shooting 16-over-par 87.

He made bogey on his first, third and fifth holes of the day at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. He then took a double-bogey on No. 6. Two more bogeys on No. 7 and No. 9 left him 7-over-par on the front nine. Kellen finished with 11 bogeys, a double bogey, a triple and five pars. He teed off in the second group of the day at 7:26 in the morning.

Kellen qualified for the PGA by finishing in the top 20 of the PGA Professionals Championship in Frisco, Texas. Kellen, 35, is the head professional at North Shore Country Club in Glenview. He is a Rockford Lutheran grad who was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference golfer at Illinois State.

More: New father, new head pro becomes rare Rockford golfer to reach PGA Tour Major championship

More: One terrible hole mars opening round for Rockford’s Chris French at PGA Championship

The other two local golfers to reach a men’s golf major since Guilford grad Mark Taylor played in the 1979 U.S. Open as a 19-year-old are Guilford grad Brad Benjamin and Byron graduate Chris French. French, the head pro at Aldeen, made nine pars in a row at one point last year to stand just 2-over-par after 11 holes in his opening round. But he finished 8-over, due in part to a triple-bogey later in the round. French shot 7-over-77 on the second day to miss the cut by 10 strokes at 15-over.

Benjamin is the only local golfer to make the cut in a PGA event in more than 50 years. He made the cut by two strokes at the 2011 U.S. Open, scrambling out of the woods on the 18th hole in his second round and sinking a 10-foot putt for par. Halfway through that second round, he was tied for 13th, only two strokes out of third. He faded in his final two rounds but made it all the way through the tournament. He also nearly made the cut at the 2010 Masters. He missed the cut by three strokes there after making bogey on three of his final four holes.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Rockford Lutheran grad Jeff Kellen struggles in first round of PGA

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