Keegan Bradley didn’t quite match the almost-59 that his mentor and Ryder Cup partner Phil Mickelson rang up on Thursday, but the 2011 PGA champ definitely brought his A-game to TPC Scottsdale on Friday, thanks in no small part to Lefty.
For sure, Mickelson’s sizzling 11-under 60 in Thursday’s opening round spurred Bradley on to a nearly flawless 63 that rocketed him to the top of the leader board just as his good buddy, playing in Friday’s afternoon wave, was starting his second round.
“Yeah, I spoke to him last night,” Bradley told Golf Channel after posting an eagle, seven birdies, and a bogey. “I watched him putt on the last hole and found myself cheering for him just like I did at the Ryder Cup.
“He gets me excited to play so I’m really happy to put a low one up there and hopefully see him on the weekend.”
Given how the younger Bradley infused the popular southpaw with new energy during September’s Ryder Cup matches at Medinah, where the duo went 3-0 in team competition, we’re guessing that enthusiasm runs both ways
Bradley, for his part, put the golf world on another 59 alert when he went out in 31. The three-time PGA Tour winner conceded he did a little scoreboard watching of his own, which led to a hiccup when he bogeyed No. 2.
“I got a little into my score there at the turn and I got a little tight and made a bogey and a couple pretty bad pars,” Bradley said. “Then I kind of settled back down again.”
Just how spot-on was Bradley on Friday? How’s hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation and needing just 26 putts?
The 2011 Rookie of the Year was psyched to bring his sterling play back to the course on Saturday -- preferably alongside his BFF.
“I feel so good because I’ve been playing really well and not getting much out of it,” said Bradley, who missed the cut at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open. “I just hope my partner Phil can not go too low on me today.”
No such luck, Keegan. After getting off to a ho-hum six-par start on Friday, Mickelson rattled home four birdies in six holes and after 12 was at 15-under for the week -- three clear of Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, and Bill Haas. Snedeker and Haas were still on the course at press time.