Keegan Bradley wins Bridgestone Invitational
|Tiger Woods’ first-round 70, followed by a second-round 72, kept him out of contention, though he finished strong with rounds of 68 and 66.|
|Keegan Bradley is shown with the Gary Player Cup after winning the World Golf Championships—Bridgestone Invitational Aug. 5.|
|Photos: Craig Marks|
|Phil Mickelson finished four over at the Bridgestone Invitational and in a tie for 43rd place|
|Jim Furyk failed to reach the green on his third shot on No. 18 Aug. 5. His double-bogey cost him the title.|
“Keegan played a heck of a back nine,” said Furyk. “He did everything he needed to do to win the golf tournament. I felt like I did the same until the 18th hole.”
Furyk was leading Bradley by a stroke before No. 18. On that hole, a par four, neither golfer found the green on their second shot. Bradley was in the right bunker; Furyk was just behind it, in the rough.
Furyk’s third shot cleared the bunker but remained in the rough, while Bradley’s shot stopped 15 feet from the hole. Furyk ended up with an ill-timed double-bogey. Bradley sank his shot for a tournament-winning par.
Bradley was asked if his last putt was the best shot he had hit during the tournament.
“It was one of them,” he said. “You know, it was just a moment where I just knew I was going to make it. It never crossed my mind that I was going to miss it. I just felt so great over it.”
The tournament ended a few minutes before 6 p.m. Aug. 5, just as CBS would have scripted it. But that was sheer luck. Because of weather concerns, day four’s tee times were moved up to early morning, with players going off in threesomes. Around 9:10 a.m., a storm sent the golfers to the clubhouse until noon, before about half the field — including Bradley — had teed off.
“I think it’s always nice not to have to start up and stop again,” he said. “I came in knowing that I probably wasn’t going to tee off. I went in there and watched the Federer match.”
Swiss tennis player Roger Federer did not fare as well as Bradley, losing in the Olympics to Andy Murray of Great Britain in the men’s tennis gold-medal match. The next time a team of U.S. golfers faces off against international competition — in the 2012 Ryder Cup — Bradley hopes to be one of the members of Team USA.
“I just want to be on that team so badly,” he said. “I was so close last year [to being on the Presidents Cup], and it would just mean so much to me to be on that team. I hope that this is enough to get on there.”
Steve Stricker, a member of the 2011 U.S. Presidents Cup team, tied Presidents Cup teammate Furyk for second at Firestone. Seven-time Bridgestone Invitational champ Tiger Woods finished in a tie for eighth place but felt confident about his next tournament, this week’s PGA Championship.
“I feel very good about where I’m at,” said Woods. “I’m excited about it.”
Last year’s PGA Championship winner was Bradley, who acknowledged that winning back-to-back tournaments would not be easy.
“I look forward to the challenge, and again, this is going to be my third time doing it,” said Bradley, who also won the 2011 Byron Nelson tournament. “I’m going to be better equipped for it.”
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