Golf

Kentuckian Perry needed big drive on 4th hole 18 years ago

Kenny Perry walked across the bridge on the ninth hole during the third round at Valhalla Golf Club. His 69 left him 3-under overall.
Kenny Perry walked across the bridge on the ninth hole during the third round at Valhalla Golf Club. His 69 left him 3-under overall. AP

LOUISVILLE — Kenny Perry says at his age he doesn't look forward to birthdays, but when he turns 54 on Sunday he'll enjoy himself by playing in the final round of the 96th PGA Championship in front of his ol' Kentucky fans.

It'll be flashback time for Perry, who almost won the PGA here at Valhalla the day after his 36th birthday.

Eighteen years later, he's not in contention, but you could say he's contented.

After shooting a 2-under-par 69 on Saturday to put him 3-under for the tournament, Perry said a friend was throwing him a big party.

"We're going to have a good time tonight, enjoy it and come out tomorrow and have a good day."

The fans gave Perry plenty of support on Saturday, just as they have all week. The loudest cheers of the day came when he drove the green at the par-5 fourth hole and rolled in an 8-foot eagle.

When asked what he was thinking as he watched his perfect drive on No. 4, Perry was quick with an answer.

"I was thinking I needed that one 18 years ago in 1996," he said. "That's the drive I needed. That's the exact thought that hit me."

Perry said he'll always remember the cheers that buoyed him this week.

"I felt like Tiger Woods, a rock star," he said. "In my whole career I never felt like that ... It's been pretty incredible."

Fellow Kentuckian J.B. Holmes also drove the fourth hole and made a long eagle putt on his way to a 69.

Holmes is 4-under for the tournament.

"Hopefully I can go out there tomorrow and throw a 5- or 6-under at them and get in the top 10," he said.

"It's there. I just haven't gotten every piece to click so far this week. Hopefully that will come tomorrow."

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