Contributed by GlobalGolfPost
Keegan Bradley might have been the most stunned person at Firestone Country Club late Sunday afternoon. After making an improbable par at the last hole, he watched Jim Furyk inexplicably miss a tying putt and Bradley was the champion of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
It was the first victory for the 26-year-old Bradley since last year’s PGA Championship. Bradley heads to Kiawah Island, S.C., this week for the PGA as both defending champion and the winner of the previous week’s event. Bradley now has three PGA Tour victories in his short career.
“I still can’t believe it,” Bradley said afterward. “It’s biorhythms. I’ve been telling everybody that all week. I’m just so thrilled.”
Who wasn’t thrilled was Furyk, who was looking for his first victory since the 2010 Tour Championship, which was his third victory of that year and won him the FedEx Cup playoffs. Furyk led Bradley by one coming into the 72nd hole. Both players missed the par-4 18th green from the middle of the fairway, Furyk into the rough behind the right greenside bunker and Bradley with a plugged lie in that same bunker.
Furyk chunked his third into the rough just short of the green and Bradley blasted out to about 18 feet. Furyk left his fourth shot about five feet short right before Bradley made his par putt. Furyk blew the bogey putt four feet past the hole, giving Bradley the victory.
“I have no one to blame but myself,” said Furyk. “When things go wrong it’s an empty pit. There’s no way I should have made worse than 5 on the last hole and there’s no way I shouldn’t be in a playoff.”
Bradley, to his credit, shot a 6-under 64 in the final round to post 72 holes at the par-70 South Course at Firestone at 13-under 267. Furyk, who led from the first round, finished with 69 and 12-under 268.
Furyk started Sunday’s final round one shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and increased his lead by making three birdies out of the gate, while Oosthuizen birdied the first two holes. While Oosthuizen was stuck in neutral, Bradley made four birdies on his way to a back-nine 31 to get within one shot of Furyk at the final tee.
Steve Stricker matched Bradley’s 64 in the final round to tie for second with Furyk at 12 under. Oosthuizen closed with 69 to place fourth at 11 under. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy shared fifth at 8 under. Rose shot 67 on Sunday and McIlroy posted 68.