In May 2011, just seven months after undergoing replacement surgery on an arthritic left hip, Kelly was second by a shot to an amateur in the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at UGA but took first-place money. A month later he went T-2, T-3 in consecutive starts and assured himself a return to the PGA Tour for 2012. He first qualified for the Tour through the 2008 Q School. Though he struggled in 17 starts on that tour, he was 11th on the Nationwide Tour money list and returned to play there again in 2010, but the hip forced him out halfway through the season. After sharing second at the 1999 NCAA Championship and graduating from the University of Washington in 2003, Kelly spent six seasons grinding through mini-tours in California, Arizona and Canada and working as a home remodeler in his spare time.