Norton, Mass. -- Keegan Bradley’s bags were packed, he was ready to go after stumbling to a 2-over 73 in Saturday’s second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. Thanks to two final birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, and a couple of favorable bounces on the TBC Boston course he was about to leave in his rear-view, the hometown favorite made the cut on the number (2-over) and was back at it on Sunday morning.
“Yeah, I cleaned out my locker, had already looked at flights [back home to Florida],” Bradley said, “so I felt like as soon as it was time to go, I felt like I was lucky just to be out here.”
Except not so fast. His final two holes on Saturday kept him in Boston for another couple of days.
“I made about a 30-footer on my second-to-last hole and made about a 12-footer on nine,’’ Bradley said Sunday about the end to Saturday's round. “It just goes to show you that you’ve always got to keep grinding and finish out the race because you never know what can happen.’’
A revived Bradley, the New England native who was sorely disheartened when he believed he had crashed out of his second straight FedEx Cup event -- and his second home-field tourney in as many years -- went out and hung a really crooked number on the scoreboard. His 63 tied the low score of the day.
Coming down the stretch with a chance to tie Vijay Singh's and Mike Weir's course-record 61, Bradley ended that speculation with a bogey on 17 and par on the last after losing his tee shot on 18 out of bounds. It was good enough to bounce Bradley back from a logjam at 67th place into a share of 19th heading into Monday’s finale.
“I've had such opportunities to come to New York and here and play well in front of fans, and I finally got that chance today to really shoot a good round and hear the crowd going,” said Bradley, who’s from Woodstock, Vt., graduated from high school in nearby Hopkinton, Mass., and played on the St. John’s golf team. “It meant a lot to me to hear everybody do that.”
So, what helped Bradley make the turn-around from the first two rounds when he said he had never felt so lost on a golf course, and Sunday’s star performance? A phone call to swing coach, Jim McLean, helped Bradley regain his swagger.
McLean “kind of gave me a lesson over the phone, and it really seemed to help,” Bradley said. “I sent him a few videos of my swing because it was honestly pretty violent the first two days, the most lost I've felt on the course in a long time.
“He just saw something in my upper body that looked a little weird. And with me, I don't need these long drawn‑out lessons, I just like something very small, and that's what Jim is good at.”
In addition to McLean pinpointing a “timing issue” with Bradley’s swing, the PGA Tour sophomore was thrilled to have his regular caddie, Steven “Pepsi” Hale, back on the bag.
“I knew that I would have Pepsi back today, which was huge for me,’’ said Bradley about his looper, who had attended to a family emergency during the first two rounds. “I was really looking forward to getting out there.’’
About that 63 on Sunday, Bradley said he did it for his grandmother, who was in the stands on 18 and watching her grandson compete for the first time in his professional career.
“My mom told me that my grandmother wanted me to shoot 63 today, so I was out there thinking I had a good chance to do that for her,” said the dutiful son. “I needed to get up‑and‑down to make that putt to shoot 63. I'm just happy with the number that I shot today. I could have been lower, but also could be higher.