NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Keegan Bradley had dreamt of winning a PGA TOUR event in front of his family.
His last victory had come more than six years ago, before he became a husband and father. He’d seen so many of his peers celebrate with their wives and children. He wanted to experience it for himself.
That’s why he had to look away when he spotted his wife, Jillian, and infant son on the final holes of the BMW Championship.
“I was getting emotional,” he said.
Bradley got to fulfill his dream after winning a sudden-death playoff with Justin Rose at the BMW Championship. Bradley’s par on the first extra hole was enough to earn his first trophy since the 2012 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He also earned his first trip to the TOUR Championship in five years.
Bradley, who started the week ranked 52nd in the FedExCup, is now sixth in the standings.
“This is just incredible,” Bradley said. “It's been a hard road back.”
His final-round 64 matched the low round of the day. He finished at 20-under 260, the lowest 72-hole score in tournament history.
It ended a winless drought that lasted longer than many would have imagined. Bradley won three times in his first two seasons, including a major and World Golf Championship. The ban of his beloved belly putter was one cause of his struggles, but he also was having trouble with his full swing.
Once he sorted out his swing, he could address his putting, eventually settling on the same arm-lock method that Webb Simpson used to win THE PLAYERS Championship this year. Simpson’s victory, his first in more than four years, served as inspiration.
Bradley was ahead by one when he stepped to Aronimink’s 18th tee on Monday, but that lead was gone after his bogey and Justin Rose’s birdie at 17. Bradley played with his infant son, Logan, while he waited behind the scoring trailer with Jillian to see how Rose fared on the final hole.
Rose bogeyed Aronimink’s difficult uphill finisher to fall into a playoff, then missed a short par putt on the first extra hole.
The putter – the club that was such a large part of his struggles -- was key to Bradley’s victory. He finished sixth in Strokes Gained: Putting this week. On Monday, he holed five putts from outside 10 feet, one short of his career high.
He holed a 12-footer for par on the third hole, then holed birdie putts of 17, 20 and 33 feet on Nos. 5, 6 and 8. He also holed a 17-footer for birdie on the par-3 14th hole to reach 19 under.
He two-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th, then holed a 9-footer for birdie on the 17th, his fourth birdie 2 of the day. He missed a 9-foot par putt on the final hole after driving wildly and pushing his approach shot into a hospitality tent right of the green.
He made amends the second time he played the hole, making par to earn the celebration he’d been waiting so long for.
Keegan Bradley taps in for par to win BMW Championship
Tiger Woods pulled within a shot on the back nine but came up short in his bid for his first victory since 2013.
Woods shot 65 on Monday to finish at 17 under par, three shots behind Bradley.
He got within one shot after birdies at 9 and 13 but bogeyed the next hole both times. The bogey at 14 seemed to end his chances. He made one birdie – at the par-15 16th – on the final four holes, missing a 9-footer for birdie at 15 and 13-footer at 17.
He finished second in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green this week after hitting 59 of 72 greens. Monday’s 13 greens were the fewest he hit this week.
He was 31st in Strokes Gained: Putting after returning to his famed Scotty Cameron this week. He only lost strokes on the greens in the second round (-3.6), when he missed three of his four attempts from 4-8 feet. A 6-footer on the first hole was his longest made putt that day.
He shared the first-round lead with Rory McIlroy after firing 62, but his 70 on Friday dropped him out of the top 10. He shot 66-65 in the final two rounds.
It was Woods’ sixth top-10 of the season and first of the FedExCup Playoffs. He will be ranked 20th in the FedExCup when he returns to East Lake for the first time in five years.
“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.” For more on Woods' return to East Lake click here.
Rory McIlroy hit 16 greens on Monday but didn’t make a putt outside of 8 feet. McIlroy, who played in the final group, dropped to fifth place with his bogey-free 68. The 2016 FedExCup champion is 17th in the standings.
Two past winners of the TOUR Championship – Billy Horschel and Xander Schauffele -- finished in third place, one shot out of the playoff. For Schauffele, his strong play at the BMW Championship earned him an opportunity to defend his title at the TOUR Championship. Schauffele, the reigning Rookie of the Year, jumped from 41st to 18th in the FedExCup. Horschel, the 2014 FedExCup champion, is ninth in this year’s standings after his second third-place finish of the Playoffs. He also finished third at THE NORTHERN TRUST.
Rory McIlroy goes pin seeking at BMW
QUOTABLEI was in control of my own destiny and didn't have it this week.t's a big miracle that we got this round in today.I lifted twice and I got some treatment and watched a ton of football.
Low round: Three players – Bradley, Horschel and Tyrrell Hatton – fired 64s. Hatton jumped from 50th to T21 on the leaderboard. Hatton was bogey-free on Monday.
Longest drive: Dustin Johnson hit a 335-yard drive on the seventh hole.
Longest putt: FedExCup leader Bryson DeChambeau made one from 46 feet, 4 inches.
Hardest hole: The 463-yard, par-4 18th played to a 4.19 stroke average on Monday.
Easiest hole: The 553-yard, par-5 16th hole played to a 4.54 stroke average.
Bryson DeChambeau buries 46-footer for birdie at BMW
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Keegan Bradley's cliffhanger is the Shot of the Day