Bruce Edwards ALS event held as second-round of Travelers ends with no Olympians in the lead

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CROMWELL — Second round play got underway in the Travelers Championship Friday morning.

On Thursday, Jerry Kelly played off the emotion of what he considers a home crowd in the Travelers Championship, shooting a 6-under 64 for a share of the lead with Vaughn Taylor and Andrew Loupe.

The 49-year-old Kelly played at the nearby University of Hartford. Headed to the PGA Tour Champions after this season, Kelly won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2009.

Loupe and Taylor went out early, when relatively soft greens and little wind helped the scoring.

The biggest galleries of the day showed up to watch U.S. Olympians Bubba Watson (67), Matt Kuchar (69) and Patrick Reed (70). They went out as a trio and were serenaded with chants of “USA! USA!”

By the end of the day, Marc Leishman gad birdied his final hole for a 2-under 68 and a share of the second-round lead.

Leishman, the 2012 winner at TPC River Highlands for his lone PGA Tour title, matched 2015 rookie of the year Daniel Berger, Russell Henley and Tyrone Van Aswegen at 7-under 133. Berger had a 67, Henley shot 65, and Van Aswegen 66.

Four players, including Kelly, were a shot behind. Blayne Barber had the best round of the day at 64 to top the six players two strokes back.

Watson, Reed and Kuchar remained in contention. Kuchar shot a 67 to move to reach 4 under. Reed, who turned 26 on Friday, also shot a 67 and was tied with Watson at 3 under. Watson, the defending champion, had a 70.

Money raised at the Travelers tournament benefits ALS in honor of the companies former CEO Jay Fishman who is battling the disease.

“Anyone can understand why I feel responsible to be involved to find ways to make ALS patients lives more productive and to advance research initiatives,” Fishman said. “But to have so many others who have quickly offered their help and been so generous is something my family and I will always be grateful for – it’s been truly remarkable.”

As of mid-July, the tournament had already raised an additional $1 million for ALS research by selling tables to a dinner featuring golfing legend Tom Watson, whose longtime caddy, Bruce Edwards, died of the disease.

All week, officials, players and caddies have worn red ribbons with the words “Carry on” emblazoned on them in honor of the phrase that Watson and Edwards often repeated to each other during difficult runs on the links. Travelers Championship adopted the mantra in 2016.

“To see so many people wearing the ribbons this week has been incredibly uplifting,” said Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube. “Anyone can make a difference, as we’re seeing tonight. The tournament stands behind Jay and all those who are battling ALS, and we’re humbled by the support the entire community has provided to make this dinner such an overwhelming success.”

That event was held Friday, August 5, at which point it was announced that the dinner alone had raised $1.1 million for the cause–116 tables were sold for $10,000 each, and Bubba Watson donated $100,000.

“To have this kind of event held in Bruce’s honor, raising money that will help us treat and hopefully beat ALS, is inspiring,” Watson said. “Bruce would be very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, coming together and putting the focus on finding a cure for such a terrible disease.”

Brian Gay donated an additional $10,000, which he won during the tournament’s closest-to-the-pin competition at The Umbrella at 15 1/2.

Stay with FOX 61 all week for continuing coverage of the Travelers Championship.

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