Keegan Bradley: PGA Champion Shakes Off Triple-Bogey
Atlanta, GA, United States
In major championships, triple-bogeys do not win titles.
Triple-bogeys late on Sunday?
Victory is not happening, you're done, through, finished.
That wasn't the case with young Keegan Bradley Sunday at the 93rd PGA Championship. Call it the exhuberance of youth or perhaps he was too naive to accept disaster.
Keegan Bradley's tee shot at the 256-yard par three missed the green right and when he arrived at his shot he found himself with "a terrible lie." His attempt to extract his ball got on the green and started running with no brakes.
It rolled off the putting surface and into the water hazard. He was forced to go back to the drop area. From there he wedged to 10 feet and missed.
He walked off the green with a six. He went from nine-under par to six-under in a matter of minutes. He went from two shots back of Jason Dufner to five behind as he headed for 16 and Dufner started at 15 from the tee.
Bradley was still determined, and that's tough to comprehend. "Somebody could have a five shot lead, it doesn't matter," he recalled, thinking of his mindset at that moment.
"I tried to steady myself and hit the best drive of the week on 16," he recounted. He followed up that boomer of a drive with a great iron shot within seven feet and got himself back to seven-under par.
Then came the 17th, the 160-yard par three where his tee shot was nothing to write home about and he left himself with a 40-footer. "It would be a putt I'll never forget the rest of my life," he said, remembering how he flushed it, right on line and into the hole for a second straight birdie that got him to eight-under.
Behind him Dufner started a collapse that would see him bogey 15, 16 and 17 and fall all the way back to eight-under and set up the playoff with Bradley.
"As soon as I realized I was going into a playoff, I completely calmed down," Bradley said the day-after. He said his experience in the playoff when he won the Byron Nelson helped him.
He also said that his collapse last week at the WGC Bridgestone when he shot 41 for his final nine at Firestone helped forge his resolve as well. "Horrifying," is how he described his play. "I completely lost it."
The playoff is history. The first and biggest swing came on the first playoff hole, the 16th when Dufner nearly holed his second shot for eagle but missed a seven-foot birdie putt. Bradley stuffed his second shot inside Dufner's and made his birdie to go ahead by one.
Dufner sealed his fate with a three-putt bogey at 17 from 40 feet. A birdie at the final hole couldn't save him as he lost by a shot, playing even par to Bradley's aggregate one-under.
"It seems like a dream and I'm afraid I'm going to wake up here in the next five minutes and it's just not going to be real," Bradley said.
But there it was, real, large, silver -- the Wanamaker Trophy.
And now Keegan Bradley is poised to possibly become not only rookie of the year on the PGA Tour but possibly player of the year.
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