Bradley snaps six-year victory drought

PHILADELPHIA: American Keegan Bradley snapped a six-year US PGA winless skid on Monday, parring the first play-off hole to defeat new world number one Justin Rose for the BMW Championship crown.
Bradley won his fourth career title, his third in a playoff, to deny Rose his third triumph of the season even though the runner-up effort was enough to see the Englishman atop the rankings for the first time in his career.
Rose lipped out a 15-foot par putt at the 72nd hole to shoot three-under par 67 and match Bradley, who closed with a 64, on 20-under 260 at rain-softened Aronimink in a final round delayed a day by showers.
Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, had not won since taking the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. It was also his first title since abandoning the controversial belly putter.
“A lot has happened to me over these six years,” Bradley said.
“The belly putter was a tougher transition than I thought, and I kind of fell off the radar there for a little while.
“It has been tough to go from being on Ryder Cup teams, being on Presidents Cup teams, to outside the top 100 in the world. That was difficult.”
Bradley responded by regrouping with coach Darren May and slowly revamping his game to its peak form.
“I felt so calm today. It was really kind of strange because I don’t normally look at leaderboards, but I looked all day and I felt so solid,” Bradley said.
“It’s so gratifying to get what comes with hard work. Sometimes you never even get it. To be back here and win this tournament is just incredible.”
Rose, unlike Bradley, will be among five players who can capture the US PGA $10 million season playoff crown by winning in two weeks at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.
“I’d love to go the Tour Championship winning because obviously I want to get to number one by winning golf tournaments, but today was fun,” Rose said.
“I birdied 16 and 17. I knew Keegan was ahead of me doing the same thing, so I kind of was responding to that. Hit a great putt in regulation to (try and) win it, but then it was a poor playoff putt from me.”
Americans Billy Horschel and Xander Schauffele shared third on 261 with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy on 262.
Tiger shares sixth
Tiger Woods, a 14-time Major champion in his comeback season from spinal fusion, produced a closing 65 to share sixth place on 263 and ensure himself a spot in the 30-man finale.
Woods has been in the hunt at Majors, finishing second at last month’s PGA Championship and leading on Sunday in July’s British Open, but still seeks his first win in more than five years.
“I played a few tournaments now where I was close at the end and at the end of the season here to say that I made it back to the Tour Championship after what I’ve been through is a pretty good accomplishment,” Woods said.
“To have a chance to win again this year, it’s a very positive feeling. If I had made a few more putts this week could have been a different deal coming down the stretch.”
Jordan Spieth is likely to be fined $20,000 for failing to play the minimum 25 tour events after failing to reach the Tour Championship.
By posting a 73 on Monday to share 55th, Spieth was one spot outside the qualifiers.
“I assume it will either be a fine or I’m adding some events in the fall,” Spieth said. “I don’t know if that counts.
“If it becomes a situation, then I obviously accept whatever fine it is and move on and try and add one every year but it’s kind of tough.” — AFP
BMW Championship final scores
(USA unless noted, par-70, Bradley wins with par on first play-off hole):
260 – Keegan Bradley 66-64-66-64, Justin Rose (ENG) 66-63-64-67
261 – Billy Horschel 64-67-66-64, Xander Schauffele 63-64-67-67
262 – Rory McIlroy (NIR) 62-69-63-68
263 – Tiger Woods 62-70-66-65, Webb Simpson 66-67-65-65
264 – Tony Finau 68-64-67-65, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 70-63-64-67, Rickie Fowler 65-65-65-69, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 71-62-62-69
265 – Kevin Na 70-62-67-66, Gary Woodland 66-66-66-67, Justin Thomas 64-67-66-68
266 – Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 66-64-67-69
267 – Bubba Watson 71-65-65-66, Aaron Wise 65-67-68-67, Andrew Putnam 67-66-66-68
268 – Adam Hadwin (CAN) 69-69-63-67, Brooks Koepka 69-68-65-66, Jason Kokrak 69-65-67-67, Bryson DeChambeau 67-70-64-67, Patrick Reed 69-65-64-70
269 – Dustin Johnson 70-68-64-67, Charles Howell 68-63-70-68, Alex Noren (SWE) 64-66-70-69, Jason Day (AUS) 67-64-68-70, Jon Rahm (ESP) 66-69-65-69