HONOLULU — Jerry Kelly sat in a high-back chair with a purple-and-white lei draped around his neck and a victory smile that was a long time coming.
The Sony Open was his 200th start on the PGA Tour, but it wasn't his first chance to win. Just four months ago, Kelly was poised to win the Reno-Tahoe Open until making triple bogey on the 16th hole, allowing John Cook to beat him by one shot.
No wonder he got a little nervous Sunday when he found Cook hot on his heels down the backstretch at Waialae Country Club.
"I just didn't want Reno to happen again to me," Kelly said. "I wasn't going to do the things that let someone else win. I wanted to win the tournament."
He took care of that with two flawless swings when the pressure peaked.
Needing a birdie on the 551-yard closing hole to win, Kelly split the middle of the fairway with a 3-wood, then hit 3-iron from 231 yards about 45 feet above the hole. He lagged his eagle putt to 12 inches and tapped in for his first victory.
"I'm really happy with how my swing reacted," said Kelly, a 35-year-old from Wisconsin. "You put in 3 1/2 years of hard work, and it comes down to those two shots right there."
He closed with an even-par 70 and finished at 266 for a one-stroke victory over Cook, who was done in by a cell phone that rang when he was at the top of his swing on the 17th.
Kelly didn't think even par would be enough, not with so many players within range.
They all had their problems.
PGA champion David Toms, playing in the final group, caught Kelly at 13 under through five holes, only to give it back on the next hole by hitting his tee shot into the bushes. It was too risky to take a penalty stroke, so Toms went back to the tee and made double bogey.
For Cook, it all fell apart on the 17th. With a 5-iron in his hand, he got to the top of his swing when a cell phone went off. Cook's tee shot sailed right toward a deep bunker, and he screamed in frustration before it landed.
"No! No cell phones!"
Cook should know, having spent three years on the PGA Tour's policy board. He also knows that no matter how many signs are posted banning cell phones, there's always someone in the crowd.
This was a man in his late teens, early 20s. The last Cook saw he was being escorted off by tournament security.
"I'm sure the kid feels bad," Cook said. "Lucky the ropes stopped me because I was going (after him). I would've felt worse now if I done what I wanted to."