By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Keegan Bradley had an inauspicious start to his day Friday, finishing off his first round by hitting his tee shot out of bounds and making double bogey on the 18th hole at Liberty National.
It was anything but a sign of things to come, however.
Bradley birdied four of his first eight holes in the second round then added four more birdies over his final nine holes to shoot a course-record 63, putting him at 7 under entering the weekend in the FedExCup Playoffs opener.
"It was just brutal and I decided that I was going to prove to myself that that wasn't how I'm going to end this tournament," said Bradley, who played his college golf at nearby St. Johns but had missed the cut in both his previous appearances at The Barclays.
Friday's round meant more than just sticking around for the weekend to Bradley.
"This has always been a tournament that I've always really wanted to play well at," Bradley said. "This is the first time I've even remotely come close to shooting under par."
That's not entirely true -- Bradley shot even par in the opening round of this tournament last year and 2 under in the opening round the year before. But it does put him in position to win for the first time this year.
In 21 starts this season, Bradley has seven top 10s. Three of those were finishes in the top 3, including a pair of runner-up finishes at Firestone and at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
"If someone goes super low, I'm still going to be within four or five shots," Bradley said. "I really like my chances around this golf course."
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Rickie Fowler shot a 7-under 64 in Friday's second round at The Barclays, tying a course record at Liberty National.
It didn't last very long.
Playing two groups behind Fowler, Keegan Bradley carded a 63.
Both are 7 under entering the weekend at the first FedExCup Playoffs event and within a stroke of the current lead of Webb Simpson, who shot 66.
Adam Scott is also tied for second after a 66. Kevin Stadler, who's at 7 under after finishing off a 64 earlier in the day, will tee off for his second round at 4:17 p.m. ET.
Others already finished with Round 2 include Sergio Garcia, who shot 66 to get to 6 under along with Freddie Jacobson (68) and David Lynn (65).
Fowler went out fast on Friday, making the turn in 30 after four birdies, an eagle and one bogey over Liberty National's back nine.
Bradley nearly did the same, making the turn in 31 before adding four more birdies over his final nine holes.
Keegan Bradley talks about the FedExCup from The Barclays, the first of four Playoffs events. On Thursday, tune into CNBC's "Closing Bell" for Maria Bartiromo's sit-down interview with Phil Mickelson, which will air around 4:30 p.m. ET.
Keegan Bradley hopes to make a strong run through the FedExCup Playoffs.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Keegan Bradley knew he had a chance. He would have loved to have stolen the course record from his buddy Jason Dufner, too.
But no sooner did Bradley make his third straight birdie to get to 6 under through 13 holes on Sunday, he bogeyed the next hole. Another bogey at the 18th hole brought Bradley home with a 66 so Dufner still had bragging rights.
Dufner had set a new Oak Hill record with a 63 on Friday -- marking the 26th time that score had been shot in a major championship. He had a chance at uncharted territory with a 62 but left a 12-footer for birdie short at the 18th hole.
"I wanted to beat's Duf's course record for sure," Bradley said. "On 14, I didn't hit that bad of a drive and it hit the tree and kicked it 60 yards right. Could have just as easily kicked it left and been right in front of the green. But that's how it goes.
"I'm proud of the way I played today. I've played the British Open and PGA good on the weekends ... so I'm happy."
Bradley may not have gotten the record he wanted but he proved there are birdies to be had at Oak Hill on Sunday. You've better make them early, though.
"The first 13 holes or 14 holes are gettable, but the last four are playing really tough," he said. "17 and 18 are going to be brutal come the end of the day."
Bradley, who beat Dufner in a playoff to win the 2011 PGA and tied for third last year, feels his game is peaking at the right time. In his last two starts, he tied for 15th at The Open Championship and shared second at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last week.
"I feel great," Bradley said. "I haven't won this year, so I would love to get one before the year is over. I've got a bunch more chances a bunch of really big tournaments to come. This is going to be a good help going into the Playoffs."
Bradley is finishing up his third year on the PGA TOUR. He's already won three times -- including that surprising PGA in a Rookie of the Year campaign -- and played on last year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. He relishes the big events and has already proved to be a threat.
"I feel like I've validated that win," Bradley said. "Not that I feel like I needed to, but I feel like my career has steadily been rising. And you know, I hope to continue to contend in majors for forever hopefully."
Keegan Bradley is the 2011 PGA champion.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Keegan Bradley is threatening to become the second player this week to tie, or maybe break, the major championship scoring record of 63.
Bradley started the final round of the PGA Championship 3 over but has gotten to 3 under with birdies on his last three holes. He's 6 under for the day on the par-70 Oak Hill layout with five holes remaining.
Bradley, who won the 2013 PGA Championship, birdied his first, third and fourth holes on the front nine to turn in 32. He needs a birdie to tie the record and two to set it -- providing he doesn't drop any shots.
Jason Dufner became the 24th different player to shoot 63 on Friday during the second round. He left a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th hole about a foot short or he would have shot the first 62.
Dufner's 63 also broke the Oak Hill course record that was held by Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange and Webb Simpson. Simpson had finished off his 64 a few hours earlier.
A 63 has now been shot 26 times in a major championship.
Click here to follow Bradley's scorecard.
Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, opened with a 1-under 69 at Oak Hill. (Carr/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Keegan Bradley's third PGA Championship didn't get off to the best of starts when he couldn't get up and down for par on the 10th hole, his first of the day.
But Bradley is nothing if not a competitor and he hung tough, even after he turned in 1 over, and gutted out a round of 69.
Bradley finally got back into red numbers with consecutive birdies at Nos. 4 and 5. He then preserved the round with clutch pars on his last four holes, despite missing his final three fairways and two of his last four greens in regulation.
"I didn't feel that comfortable over the ball, but I'm very proud of my score," Bradley said. "I hung in there. This is a tough course. I made some good pars coming down the end."
Bradley was headed for the range after he grabbed a bite of lunch. He only hit five fairways and 10 greens in regulation while using 28 putts, evenly divided on each side.
"I hit a few good putts on that back side (actually Oak Hill's front), made a few birdies," Bradley said. "... You just got to stay out of in rough and hit as many greens as possible. To do that you have got to hit it in the fairway."
Bradley certainly seems to have an affinity for the PGA Championship. He beat Jason Dufner in a playoff in his debut at the season's final major and tied for third a year ago.
"I felt really good," Bradley said. "I didn't play particularly well and shot 69, which is a really good sign."
Chris Wood won his first European Tour event earlier this year.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- The TV and radio announcers will be challenged today with Tiger Woods and Chris Wood in today's final pairing along with Keegan Bradley.
Woods is 13 under and leads the other two by seven strokes after two rounds of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He tied the Firestone Country Club course record -- for the second time -- on Friday when he shot 61.
The 25-year-old Wood is playing with Woods for the first time. Bradley, on the other hand, has played with Woods five times previously, most recently on Thursday and Friday at the Memorial Tournament -- and they're paired together in the first two rounds of next week's PGA Championship.
Wood, as might be expected, is excited to play with the world No. 1. The three tee off at 1:10 p.m. ET.
"He's up here as high as you can get in my book as far as what he's achieved is just phenomenal," the Englishman saiid. "Like I said, he's been my golfing hero since I was 10, when I started the game, really. To be out with the world No. 1, Tiger Woods, is going to take a bit of getting used to, I think."
Wood wasn't surprised by Woods' 61. The two hit balls next to each other on the range Friday and Wood said Woods "looked really impressive, totally in control. It's going to be a real challenge for me (Saturday)."
An opportunity, as well.
"But I've got to forget about all that sort of thing," Wood said. "As hard as it's going to be, I've just got to try and play my game and enjoy the experience because I never got to meet Seve, which I would have loved to have done, and to play with Tiger ... in a final group in a big event is pretty special. I won't forget it."
Keegan Bradley talks to the media after shoot 68 on Friday.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- Keegan Bradley refused to be discouraged by the birdie-eagle-birdie start Tiger Woods used to vault past him to the top of the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
"No, no," Bradley said. "I played a great round of golf. Tiger, those first couple holes out there are definitely birdie holes, so I'd expect him to do that. You know, I hope he doesn't go too low, but I'm in a good spot going into the weekend regardless."
Bradley shot 68 in the second round to finish at 6 under, which was the overnight lead held by Webb Simpson. The defending champ actually had moved to 8 under through 11 holes but made two bogeys coming home.
"My game feels really sharp right now, so everything that I've done this week so far has felt really good, putting, driving the ball, irons," Bradley reported. "I haven't gotten the most out of both my rounds, so hopefully tomorrow I can do that."
Bradley says he's eating at the same place he did every day last year -- but he doesn't always order the same thing. Firestone certainly holds a special place for Bradley, who contended in his 2011 debut until shooting a 41 on the back nine Sunday.
Of course, Bradley went on to win the PGA Championship the following week.
"This time of year my game always kind of comes around, and I start to play better," he said. "... This could be my favorite tournament all year. I love it here. This golf course and history, and I really look forward to this golf tournament every time I come."
All interviews will be streamed live at PGATOUR.COM (all times ET).
Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013
Winner's interview: About 30-45 minutes after tournament's conclusion