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Bradley gears up for USPGA defence with Bridgestone WGC victory

The American poured in a 15-foot putt on the last to dash the hopes of compatriot Jim Furyk and clinch a spot at the Ryder Cup.

Keegan Bradley celebrates his tournament winning putt on 18.
Keegan Bradley celebrates his tournament winning putt on 18.
Image: AP Photo/Phil Long

KEEGAN BRADLEY SAVED par on the final hole by pouring in a 15-foot putt to claim the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, denying Jim Furyk the first wire-to-wire victory of his career.

Bradley rallied with a final round six-under 64 Sunday to finish at 13-under 267 and win by one stroke over Furyk and Steve Stricker.

“I still can’t believe it,” Bradley said. “I am just so thrilled.”

It was the first win for Bradley since capturing the 2011 PGA Championship and he now heads to Kiawah Island, South Carolina to try to defend that title next week.

Last hole wobbles

Furyk led the tournament for 71 holes before suffering a meltdown on the par-four 18th where he shot a double bogey.

He had an eight-foot putt to get into a playoff with Bradley but missed it right and it scooted six feet past the cup. Furyk said:

My fifth shot I hit was my worst shot of the week. I have no one to blame but myself when things go wrong. It is an empty pit.

Furyk closed with a one-under 69 while Stricker shot a six-under 64 as they finished in a tie for second at 12-under 268.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen fired a one-under 69 to finish in fourth place by himself, two shots adrift of Furyk.

England’s Justin Rose (67) and Rory McIlroy (68) of Northern Ireland tied for fifth at eight under. World No. 2 Tiger Woods closed with nine straight pars in a bogey-free round of 66.

Bradley saved par on the 18th by pouring in a 16-footer after hitting his approach into the sand.

He nailed the putt and then pumped his right fist several times in celebration. Bradley then had to wait to see if Furyk could sink his bogey putt to send them back to the 18th tee for a tiebreaker.

Furyk could not and Bradley’s win was the third of his career and also earned him a spot on the America’s Ryder Cup team.

Wire to wire denied

Furyk was trying for his first win since the 2010 Tour Championship and his first wire-to-wire (leading from start to finish) win of his career. Had he won Sunday he would have joined Woods (2000) and Stewart Cink (2004) as the only wire-to-wire winners at the Bridgestone.

The American hit his tee shot on 18 into the trees but got a lucky bounce when his ball deflected back onto the fairway.

Furyk’s approach missed the green and barely got over a bunker into thick grass on the right. He bungled his chip shot to five feet and then the bogey putt to force a playoff never had a chance.

A dejected Furyk said he would use this as a learning experience. He commented:

I am disappointed. I hated to see …. I walked over and my boys are crying right after the round.

“It reminds you as an adult and as a parent you have to act the proper way you have to do and say the right things and show them the right lessons.

“There is no way I should have made any worse than five on the last hole. No way I should be at worst in a playoff.”

Woods finished in a tie for eighth with a group of eight golfers that included England’s Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley of Australia and South Korea’s K.J. Choi.

- © AFP, 2012

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