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October 25 2013

8:06 AM

Bradley stays aggressive, grabs lead

Watch Bradley birdie No. 7

Keegan Bradley has made 14 birdies in the first two rounds at the CIMB Classic, including this one at the seventh hole.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

His mother was back home in the United States, using the TV remote to keep track of Keegan Bradley, who was playing at the CIMB Classic, as well as  their beloved Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

Bradley's girlfriend Jillian Stacey is also a big fan. So she was using whatever means she could to keep track of the game and update her beau as he carved out a 66 at Kuala Lumpur Country Club that gave him a four-stroke lead over Ryan Moore.

"I know that they replay (the game) later today, but it's more fun knowing what's going on," Bradley said.

The time difference between Malaysia and Boston, where the first two World Series games have been played, is 12 hours. So Bradley was playing his second round on Friday afternoon while the Red Sox were losing 4-2 on Thursday night, which evened the series with the St. Louis Cardinals at 1-1.

Even as big a fan of all things Boston as he is, though, Bradley said he hasn't had trouble concentrating on golf this week -- and it shows. Bradley has made 14 birdies and dropped just one shot to par in the first two rounds.

"But in the back of my mind I'm wondering what's going on," Bradley said. "I know my mom at home was flipping back and forth watching. It's fun to know that yesterday the Red Sox won, the Bruins won. I shot 7 under, and I got a bunch of texts from some of the guys that play and they were all excited."

And why not? Bradley, one of the longest and most accurate drivers on TOUR, has hit all but four fairways in the first two rounds, while finding 75 percent of his greens in regulation and using just 26 putts each day.

"Today ... I felt as in control of my golf ball today as maybe I've ever felt," Bradley said. "So that is a really good sign on this golf course and going into the weekend. I'm very excited with the way I'm hitting the golf ball. When I'm hitting the ball like this and my putter kind of matches up, normally I'm going to be right in there contending for the tournament, and that is the case here."

Bradley is making his first start of the 2013-2014 season -- just two-and-a-half weeks after a successful debut in The Presidents Cup. He said he took a couple of days off before getting back to work, putting particular emphasis on his short game once he did.

"I'm always trying to get better and work harder," Bradley said. "I realize that last year, although it was a good year, I didn't win. I didn't contend in the majors as much as I wanted to, and there is no time to waste on the PGA TOUR when you have players like Tiger and Phil and everybody playing the way they are. 

"So ... I have no time to waste, whether it's at the end of the year, the beginning of the year. I've got to work as hard as I possibly can to get better."

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