Bradley snatches WGC from Furyk on 72nd hole

By Doug FergusonAugust 5, 2012, 10:24 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Keegan Bradley never looked like a winner over four days and 71 holes at Firestone until he poured in a 15-foot par putt on the final hole Sunday.

Given the way golf has gone this year, no one should have been surprised.

Two weeks after Adam Scott gave up a four-shot lead with four holes to play in the British Open, Jim Furyk was poised to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Bridgestone Invitational until he made double bogey from the middle of the 18th fairway.

His 5-foot bogey putt to at least get into a playoff never had a chance, and he immediately dropped his putter and bent over with a mixture of shock and disgust.

''I led the golf tournament the entire way and lost it on the very last hole,'' Furyk said. ''To get that close and to know that I played more than good enough to win the golf tournament, and not close the door, is disappointing. It is a cruel game. I've lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don't think I've let one ever slip nearly as bad as this one. This was my worst effort to finish off an event.''

Lost in his 18th hole collapse was a sterling performance by Bradley, who shot 31 on the back and came up with one clutch putt after another. None was bigger than the final stroke of his 6-under 64. After blasting out of a plugged lie in the bunker, he poured in a 15-foot putt for par that turned out to be the winner.

''I didn't think for a second I was going to miss it,'' Bradley said. ''It was unbelievable. I got behind it, and I barely even had to read it. I knew the exact way it was going to break. I just needed to hit it hard enough. I knew that. And it was dead center.''

Furyk led by one shot playing the 18th and got a huge break when his tee shot bounced out of the trees to the left and back into the fairway. That's where it all fell apart. His 7-iron went long, into a bunker and hopped out into the collar. He had to place his left foot in the sand to play a shot with the ball sitting up, and the delicate chip barely cleared the bunker and settled into more thick grass.

The chip for his fourth shot was a clunker, stopping 5 feet short of the pin, and the bogey putt was what Furyk called ''my worst putt of the week.''

Bradley won for the third time in his career, his last win coming a year ago at the PGA Championship. He became the 11th player to win a major and a World Golf Championship, and the win moved him to No. 4 in the Ryder Cup standings. With one week left to grab one of eight spots, he's all but assured of making his first team.

''My hope standing on the 18th tee was to make birdie and maybe force a playoff,'' Bradley said. ''But you know, just from being out here, you just never know what's going to happen.''

It was the 11th time this year - and fourth time in the last five weeks - that the winner came from at least four shots behind in the final round.

The ending was devastating for Furyk in so many ways.

He was tied for the lead at the U.S. Open with three holes to play when he hooked his tee shot on the 16th hole, made bogey and never caught up. This time, he was in control at Firestone from his opening 63, all the way through the final round when he started with three straight birdies and made an 18-foot birdie on the 16th to seemingly hold off the late charge by Bradley.

''I have no one to blame but myself,'' Furyk said. ''But when things go wrong, it's an empty feeling. I'm disappointed. I walked over, my boy is crying right after the round. And I guess it reminds you as an adult - as a parent - that you have to act the proper way. You have to do and say the right things to try to give the right lessons.

''But there's no way I should have made any worse than 5 on the last hole,'' he said. ''There's no way I should have done worse than a playoff.''

He went from what appeared to be a certain win to a 69 and a tie for second with Steve Stricker, who made four birdies on his last five holes for a 64.

Bradley was four shots behind going into the final round, and was six shots back when Furyk opened with three straight birdies. Bradley kept pecking away at the lead, holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the seventh, scrambling for par on the 12th, and starting the back nine with a pair of birdies.

Furyk finally answered with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th, only for Bradley to follow him in for birdie from 12 feet. Bradley took only 12 putts on the back nine, including par saves on the final two holes.

He finished on 13-under 267.

Stricker found his putting stroke at Firestone - not that it was ever deep in hiding - and showed that down the stretch with his closing stretch of birdies. It was an important performance for Stricker, who moved up three spots to No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings. Furyk is No. 11, followed by Rickie Fowler at No. 12.

Louis Oosthuizen closed with a 69 to finish alone in fourth. Justin Rose (67) and Rory McIlroy (68) were another shot behind.

Tiger Woods played bogey-free for a 66, his lowest score since a 65 in the second round at Bay Hill at the end of March. He was never in the tournament, 11 shots behind going into the final round, though he picked up the tiniest of consolations. He now has back-to-back finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour for the first time in nearly three years. And he at least heads to Kiawah Island feeling good about his game.

''I hit a lot of good shots and never really sniffed making a bogey all day,'' said Woods, who played his final 23 holes without a bogey. ''I feel very good about where I'm at. I'm excited about it.''

The nature of the course changed drastically with a quarter-inch of rain overnight, and a burst of showers that stopped play for nearly three hours Sunday morning. Shots to the green were spinning back instead of bouncing forward. Pars no longer were good enough.

Furyk picked up on that quickly, and came out even stronger than he did on Saturday. He dropped only one shot when he drove to the right into the trees on No. 6 and missed a 10-footer for par. He was rarely in jeopardy the rest of the way until he found himself in the middle of the fairway on the final hole, needing a par to win.

Instead, he watched someone else take home the $1.4 million first prize.

''Keegan played a heck of a back nine,'' Furyk said. ''He did everything he needed to do to win the golf tournament. I felt like I did the same, until the 18th hole.''

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Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 pm

U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


And here is the capper at the 14th

Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

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Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”