Keegan’s Comeback: Bradley Steals Glory in Dramatic Fashion

Posted: August 15, 2011 by mceagle611 in Sports
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Coming into Sunday and throughout Sunday’s round there were many no names atop the leaderboard at the season’s final major – The PGA Championship. At first thought I’m sure many of you were thinking that it would be a huge waste of your Sunday evening if you viewed the action. However, if you turned your back on the action – especially once Jason Dufner approached the 15th tee with Keegan Bradley in the rough on that very hole – you seriously missed out on the most dramatic close to any Major Championship this year.

Yes, throughout the final round on Sunday the big names did try to make a move…it just was not to be. Phil Mickelson -2005 PGA Champion – started the day at even par but made a move early in his round as he birdied two of the opening six holes (which proved to be a challenge all week long). Once he bogeyed 10 and 14 it was all over. Majorless was Luke Donald – World Number One – and he had a couple of birdies late in his round. However, on the second hardest hole on the course – the 260 yard par-3, the 15th – Donald didn’t give his ball enough juice…and even though it was on a good line it landed in the drink.

The story on Saturday was undoubtedly how Jason Dufner – who had never even won in a PGA tournament – was able to hit 17/18 greens in regulation and take a share of the lead heading into the final round of a major championship. The week before, if you remember, Keegan Bradley had a shot at winning the W.G.C. Bridgestone in Akron, Ohio, but he failed to go low coming down the stretch. Now in his first Major Championship, Bradley would truly show something special. And I truly think that due to the fact that each golfer did not have much experience in a Major made it that much more dramatic…because you knew at any moment the two could make a huge mistake.

Coming up to the 15th tee Dufner had essentially a 5-shot lead on the rest of the field, and even though he would make a couple of clutch saves Dufner went bogey, bogey, bogey, par to close. This was nearly the opposite of Keegan Bradley – again, it was his first Major Championship start – who walked up to the 16th tee after Triple Bogeying the par-3 15th hole now 5 shots down to Dufner. I was a bit surprised that Dufner was not able to hold onto such a lead after showing such poise for 68 holes at the PGA Championship, but after I saw Keegan finish with an emotional birdie, birdie, (almost birdie) par to tie Dufner at 8-under I knew that the momentum had swung.

So entering a playoff, I did not know what to expect because both demonstrated that they could take on the extremely difficult course. They started on the 16th tee and right away they put their tee shots in almost the exact same spot that they were in during regulation play. Now that two had gotten a chance to take almost a ‘practice shot’ from their respective locations before Dufner almost knocked in an eagle-2, as it slid 5 feet past the hole (he pared), and Bradley planted it 3 feet short of the hole (he birdied). Bradley picked up another stroke on the 17th as each found the green with roughly a 25 foot putt left for birdie. Neither would make the putt but Dufner would three-putt the hole. Now on the 18th tee, Dufner knew he had to record a score two-strokes better than Bradley..but after Bradley used a quite ballsy 3-wood off the tee and 6-iron which barely made it onto the green; we knew it was all over. Dufner recorded a beautiful birdie after sinking a long birdie-putt from at least 20 feet, but at the end of the day Keegan Bradley hoisted the Wanamaker trophy. Cementing the third win by a first-time starter at a Major Championship in Golf history (Ben Curtis in 2003 and Francis Ouimet in 1913).

What a week off golf and I’ll tell you that no one would have called this finish at the beginning of the week. It felt good – from this blogger’s point of view – to see a guy with a red shirt on pump his fists all over the place. Also, to my defense, I did chose Jason D in the PGA Championship Preview… just not the right one!

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  1. […] 8 p.m. In one of the most disappointing collapses and one of the most inspirational comebacks; Keegan Bradley took the Wanamaker in a 3-hole playoff. It was good to see a golfer in red pumping his fists […]

  2. […] an unbelievable finish to the Season’s Final Major…Glory’s Last Shot (read more here). The story that captivated us all was rookie Keegan Bradley who beat Jason Dufner in the infamous […]

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