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This year, no Beantown distractions for Bradley

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NORTON, Mass. – He learned his lesson a year ago, when he played in front of the hometown fans for the first time, as a major champion, and then was spotted all over town – at the New England Patriots game, at the Boston Red Sox game, seeing this, attending that.

When it came time for the Deutsche Bank Championship, however, Keegan Bradley bottomed out during a second-round 76 and missed the cut in the second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“It was just a lot going on, no real downtime ever, and that was a big adjustment to me,” he explained Thursday. “That took a big toll on me last year.”

After winning the 2011 PGA in his first major start, the now-26-year-old admittedly had trouble sleeping – for weeks. During Deutsche Bank week, he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park, flipped the coin at midfield during a Patriots game, and was “pulled in a million different directions.”

Not so this year, thankfully. Sure, earlier this week Bradley hosted a fundraiser in his hometown of Woodstock, Vt. (about three hours north of Norton), for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, helping to raise more than $100,000 for those affected by Hurricane Irene more than a year ago. But this time, the Red Sox are out of town, in the midst of a West Coast road trip. The Patriots are gone, too, as they make final preparations for the regular season.

Perhaps that was a welcome sight?

“A little bit, yeah,” he said. “I promised myself I would stay real low-key no matter what, but that helped for sure. It’s hard to say no to some of these things that are childhood dreams.”