Bradley switches back to belly putter at Pinehurst


PINEHURST, N.C. – Keegan Bradley’s break from anchoring didn’t last long.

After playing one tournament with a standard-length putter, Bradley has the belly putter back in the bag this week at the U.S. Open. Thursday he anchored his way to a 1-under 69 at Pinehurst No. 2, which put him in a tie for fifth, four shots behind Martin Kaymer.

“This is the best round I’ve ever played in a U.S. Open, for sure,” Bradley said. “Really, really happy with the way I played. Mentally, everything was pretty solid.”

Bradley briefly held sole possession of the lead after a birdie on No. 10 took him to 3 under for the day, but two bogeys followed on the subsequent two holes. Despite the hiccups, he sang the praises of the USGA’s course setup.

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“They’ve done an unbelievable job. It’s the best setup I think I’ve ever played,” Bradley said. “If you hit the ball in the fairway, you can attack and you can make birdies right now. But if you hit the ball in that waste, even if you’ve got a good lie, it’s hard to hit a good shot.”

Bradley surprised many when he showed up to the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago without the belly putter he had used while winning three times on the PGA Tour since 2011. Using a standard-length putter, he tied for 37th at Muirfield Village.

With a major trophy up for grabs on the undulating greens at Pinehurst, though, Bradley went back to the devil he knows.

“I just felt like from off the green I was a little more comfortable with it,” said Bradley, who took 29 putts in the opening round. “You can have so many putts from off the green around here. There was no other reason other than that, for those kind of putt-chips that you have.”