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Keegan Bradley still confident game is trending up after squandering lead at Valspar Championship

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — As the ball sailed by means of the steamy, shimmering late afternoon sky, Keegan Bradley thought he had gotten away with a poorly-hit 8-iron.

The Jupiter, Florida, resident set his eyes on the bunker wanting the thirteenth inexperienced and thought if that’s the place it was headed it could possibly be worse.

It was.

The ball by no means reached the bunker, as an alternative hitting the wall that retains the earth from falling into the water and bounced again into that lake.

Bradley bent over his 8-iron and dropped his head in disbelief. He knew at that second his possibilities of a fifth PGA Tour win seemingly had been sunk. Just like that ball.

“I just hit a terrible shot,” he stated. “I hadn’t really hit a really bad shot all week and you just can’t hit it there. It was a bummer.”

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That shot turned a two-man impasse at the Valspar Championship right into a two-shot lead for Sam Burns, Bradley’s enjoying companion the ultimate two rounds. Burns would double that lead three holes later earlier than settling for a 68 and ending with a 17-under 267, three photographs forward of runner-up Bradley.

“I’ve done pretty well in my career when I’ve had a chance,” Bradley stated. “I just didn’t hit the shots that I needed coming down the end.”

Bradley, 34, was in a position to put the weekend in perspective. Yes, there was disappointment that he couldn’t end after an opening-round 64 and holding the lead after every spherical … outright after Thursday and tied with Burns following play on Friday and Saturday.

But his game is on the upswing after that final-round 71, primarily due to his placing. And recovering from that one dangerous shot sufficient to hold onto second place — even after lacking a 4-foot par putt on No. 15 — says quite a bit about the place Bradley is mentally.

Bradley admitted his placing woes had taken the enjoyable out of his game.

“I just didn’t hit the shots I needed coming down the end,” he stated. “But I’m proud of the way I finished off to come in solo second. A lot of points at stake, World Ranking points. I can take that away from it.”

What he can take away is his greatest end in 43 begins, relationship to the 2019 Travelers Championship when he tied for second behind Chez Reavie and bought a test for $752,100.

Although Bradley had the lead at the flip, he appeared to be enjoying catchup to Burns all the spherical. They began even, however Bradley dropped two photographs by the third gap after Burns birdied No. 2 adopted by a Bradley bogey the subsequent gap.

Bradley battled again and regained the lead outright on No. 9 by dropping a 16-foot birdie putt. That lasted one gap earlier than Burns birdied No. 11, his first of three birdies on the again 9 (he had two bogeys however each after he took an insurmountable lead).

“You never wish that upon anyone, you never wish to see someone hit it in the water,” Burns stated. “I was hoping Keegan would play his best. I wanted to see how I would hold up and see if I could beat him with my best against his best.”

What made that second extra surreal was this is not No. 17 at PGA National or the long-lasting island inexperienced at TPC Sawgrass. Though the outlet performed the second hardest on the course that was primarily as a result of it had the second-fewest birdies. Bradley’s was simply the second water ball off the tee on the day and the eleventh within the 449 instances the outlet was performed in 4 days.

In different phrases, Bradley had a 2.2 % likelihood to placing that tee shot within the water when he addressed the ball.

Bradley is not going to let one shot derail what he believes is a resurgent profession uptick. He stated his game is in “great shape” and is confident he will probably be again on this identical spot someday quickly, maybe this week in Charlotte or in three weeks at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island.

And nothing stated extra about his frame of mind than his upbeat temper following the spherical. Bradley shortly turned his consideration to his household as he walked off the 18th inexperienced with hugs for his spouse, Jillian; sons Logan and Cooper.

“We got a four-hour drive back to Jupiter,” he stated with a giant smile. “We’ll see how much I like them then.”

No matter what occurs on that drive, he’ll get pleasure from it greater than that tee shot on No. 13.


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