By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
Putting: Keegan Bradley putted his way to victory in the final round. He took 26 putts on Sunday, one-putting the last three greens. For the week, he was third in strokes gained-putting. Bradley made a birdie from 41 feet on the seventh green and saved par from 16 feet on the final hole. He made 169 feet worth of putts on Sunday. There is no substitute for a hot putter.
Crushing: Jim Furyk said he could not remember a tougher defeat in his PGA TOUR career. He doubled the last hole to lose by one. As Furyk walked to the scoring trailer, his family gathered around for a group hug and there were some tears. Fuyrk then took care of his scorecard and did interviews, telling me when he saw his kids crying, he knew he had to behave in a proper manner to set a good example.
The monster: Year after year, the 16 th hole delivers. The 645-yard par 5 exploded in a matter of 15 minutes on Sunday. First Steve Stricker made birdie, then in the following group Louis Oosthuizen chipped in for birdie from 50 feet, Furyk made an 18-footer for birdie and Bradley matched him with one of his own.
Tough finish: It appeared Furyk got the break of the tournament when his drive hit a tree and bounded into the fairway on the 18 th hole, but the tournament still slipped away. A 7-iron sailed long over the green and he quickly played two chips before missing a 5-footer for bogey. Furyk got out of his usual rhythm playing the final hole.
Setup: With rain in the forecast, officials took the precaution of using preferred lies. Players that teed off in dry conditions were still allowed to improve lies in the fairways. That was a great call on the officials’ part. Rain swept over the golf course and when play resumed the tournament would have been filled with mud balls if preferred lies had not been declared before the first ball was hit.
Good finish: Tiger Woods came on strong in the final round to finish eighth. He actually hit the ball well all week. Woods was second hitting greens in regulation but 67 th in total putts. He finished 64 th in strokes gained-putting for the week. If you are looking for players who hit the ball well this week and should have momentum for the PGA Championship they would be: Woods, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy , Furyk and Stricker. They all finished top five in greens in regulation.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio – In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, Keegan Bradley got up and down from a buried lie in the greenside bunker on the final hole to beat Jim Furyk and win the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.
Bradley, who was in contention at Firestone a year ago until closing with a 41, had to make a 16-footer to save par on the 72nd hole. Once the ball started tracking toward the hole, there was no doubt it would find the bottom of the cup.
“I just kept telling myself that this is the exact moment that I live for, that you play golf for, that you grow up your whole life, and I'm living it,” Bradley said. “It's just an amazing feeling to be in that moment and just loving every second of it.
“I didn't think for a second I was going to miss it. 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.”
Bradley, who will defend his PGA title next week at Kiawah Island, ended up shooting a bogey-free 64 to seal the victory and lock up the spot he so covets on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
But Furyk, who had led since opening with a 63, actually was one ahead when the two came to the final hole. His second shot landed in the right rough above the same bunker Bradley would later find.
Furyk’s chip surprisingly settled in the rough again, landing short of the green. Bradley blasted out past the pin before Furyk finally found the putting surface with his fourth shot, the ball stopping 5 feet shy.
Bradley then poured in his putt and celebrated with a fist pump. Furyk’s putt to force a playoff slid 5 feet by and he had to make that coming back to save a share of second with Steve Stricker, who birdied his final three holes to match Bradley’s 64 in the final round.
"I think right now just a little bit in shock with the way I finished up,” Furyk said after the round. “I turned a 5 into a 6 and lost the golf tournament on the last hole. There's no way I should have made double bogey.”
Only 10 of 33 third-round leaders have gone on to win on the PGA TOUR this year.
“I feel horrible for Jim,” Stricker said. “He led 71 holes, and then just had a bad last hole. It's a cruel game sometimes.”
AKRON, Ohio – In the anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better category, Jim Furyk and Keegan Bradley matched birdies at the par-5 16th hole.
Furyk made his 17-footer and celebrated with a quiet fist pump before Bradley converted from 11. The third member of the final group, Louis Oosthuizen actually had gotten things going when he chipped in from 50 feet behind the green.
So Furyk heads to the 17th hole at 14 under and remains one ahead of Bradley. Oosthuizen is tied at 11 under with Steve Stricker, who has just made his second straight birdie and third in the last four holes.
AKRON, Ohio -- Keegan Bradley continues to gain ground on Jim Furyk over the final holes of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Bradley made a 9-footer at the 14th hole to pull within a shot of Furyk, who has led since opening with a 63 in the first round. The birdie was Bradley's fifth of the day and moved him to 12 under.
Following a final-round 66, Tiger Woods reflects on his play in the 2012 World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational with John Maginnes from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
AKRON, Ohio – Keegan Bradley inched closer to Jim Furyk with a 7-foot birdie putt at the 11th hole.
The birdie, which narrowed the gap to two strokes, was Bradley's second in a row and fourth of the day against no bogeys. Furyk two-putted for par from 24 feet on the same hole to remain at 13 under.
Louis Oosthuizen, the third member of the final group, got one of the shots he squandered at the turn back with a 4-footer for birdie on the par-3 12th. He’s back to 10 under, one shot behind Bradley and two off Furyk’s pace.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, polished off a 66 with nine consecutive pars on the back. One his playing partners, Matt Kuchar, joined Woods at 4 under for the tournament with a string of four birdies to close his round.
AKRON, Ohio – A year ago Keegan Bradley trailed by one when he made the turn on Sunday at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He self-destructed on the back nine, though, shooting a 41 to finish well back in a tie for 15th.
Bradley has put himself in position again this year at Firestone, only this time he's headed in a positive direction. He just drained a 23-footer for birdie at the 10th hole to take over second place from playing partner, Louis Oosthuizen, who missed a 10-footer to save par there.
Bradley, who has yet to make a bogey on Sunday, is now 10 under and trails Jim Furyk by three strokes. Furyk had a 6-footer for birdie at the 10th hole but was unable to convert.
AKRON, Ohio -- Jim Furyk owns a three-stroke lead as the final group heads to the back nine at Firestone Country Club.
Furyk lengthened his advantage to three for the second time on the front side as Louis Oosthuizen bogeyed the ninth hole. The South African found the rough off the tee, was short with his approach and missed a 15-footer to save par.
So Furyk, who set the tone for the day with birdies on his first three holes, is 13 under for the tournament. Oosthuizen fell back to 10 under, where he started the round, with his second bogey in the last five holes.
Keegan Bradley, the third member of the final group, claimed sole possession of third when he drained a 41-footer at the seventh hole. He made a 14-footer to save par at the ninth hole to remain at 9 under and four strokes off the pace.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has reeled off six straight pars after making the turn 4 under and is currently tied for 10th. And Phil Mickelson is struggling – he’s 2 over through 16 holes.