Aug. 5, 2012
AKRON, Ohio - St. John's men's golf alumnus Keegan Bradley won the third tournament of his PGA Tour career on Sunday by claiming the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. As in his previous two victories - at the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship and the 2011 PGA Championship - the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year took this tournament in dramatic fashion.
"If there are people out there that say golf is boring, then they weren't watching today, because that was some exciting play out there," head coach Frank Darby said.
Bradley started off the day at seven-under par, four shots off the lead of Jim Furyk, but strong enough to have him placed in the final group along with Furyk and Louis Oosthuizen, who stood at 10-under coming into Sunday. After his playing partners each birdied the first two holes of the final round, Bradley found himself six strokes back despite two solid pars.
However, according to the man who coached Bradley to nine tournaments wins during his four years at St. John's, there was never any doubt that he was still in contention.
"When I saw him today, he had that look in his eyes that he was about to do something special and that he was on the prowl," Darby said.
Bradley slowly chipped away at the lead with six birdies and no bogies on the day to find himself just one stroke off the lead heading into the final hole. His second shot on 18 got plugged in the bunker, but after a strong sand shot and gutsy 15-footer to save par, Bradley watched as Furyk struggled, missing a bogey putt that would have forced a playoff, sealing Bradley's third tour victory.
On top of the strong victory for Bradley, the weekend's result likely locked up a spot on the 2012 Ryder Cup team as he moved to fourth in the standings, with the top-eight getting an automatic bid to the team.
"I know that the Ryder Cup team has been a big goal of his, and it's been on his mind a lot lately," Darby said. "After he didn't make the President's Cup team last year he was pretty disappointed, so this is definitely a huge weight off of his shoulders."
Bradley's victory wasn't the only action that Darby was keeping his eye on Sunday afternoon, as rising St. John's junior Ryan McCormick claimed the Met Amateur title just an hour before Bradley's triumph.
"As a coach, when you see your guys performing like that, you feel like you're living through them a little bit, but you also know that hopefully you played at least some small part in them being where they are," Darby said. "With Ryan and Keegan, you have two guys who have done it the right way and have worked hard for everything they've earned, and as Lou Carnesecca would say `That means you're recruiting the right guys.'"
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