PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Keegan Bradley simply equaled his most interesting round of golf in 18 months throughout what he referred to as “an all-around great day” that was “basically zero stress.”
And the best part of his Thursday had but to come back.
After a 7-under 64 that gave the Jupiter resident a two-shot lead after one round at the Valspar Championship, Bradley was again to the actual life … being a husband and a dad.
Keegan and his spouse, Jillian, crossed the state together with sons, Logan, 3, and Cooper, 3 months, to get pleasure from what has began out to be a pleasant enjoyable week on the Gulf Coast. Now, if the remaining of the week goes the way in which it began and the one stress Keegan faces is ensuring Logan eats his greens and Cooper will get his naps, this positively might be a memorable household trip.
“I’ll go back today and, doesn’t matter what I shoot, I got to go be a dad and play baseball and play golf in the backyard, which I look forward to,” mentioned Bradley, who referred to as his household his “good luck charm.”
Shooting a bogey free round has to make Dad Time a bit sweeter. Especially on a Copperhead Course that the two-time defending champion, Paul Casey, mentioned is “as good and as tough as it’s ever been.”
Bradley, the nephew of LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, burst on the PGA Tour scene early, profitable twice as a rookie in 2011, together with the PGA Championship. That was a thrill solely equaled by the Vermont native receiving a textual content that day from one of his sports activities heroes, Tom Brady, who, Keegan says, could be part of his dream foursome alongside along with his dad and Ben Hogan. That Wannamaker Trophy then sat on the ground in his Jupiter residence topped by a Red Sox cap.
Although Bradley, 34, admits that main title “changed my life forever,” it additionally ratcheted up the highlight and expectations. After being named PGA Tour rookie of the 12 months, Keegan received once more in 2012 (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and cracked the highest 10 of the World Golf Ranking (No. 10) in 2013.
That victory at the WCG occasion was 229 begins in the past. Since then, Bradley has one win (2018 BMW Championship, along with his household on web site) and his world rating has dropped to 135.
Few have had their careers altered over a rule change as a lot as Bradley. In 2016, the observe of anchoring a putter was banned. Bradley, who used a stomach putter, was the primary golfer to win a serious utilizing an anchored putter. The putter was part of a bundle that additionally earned Bradley spots in the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup groups.
Bradley was outspoken about not with the ability to use one thing he had adopted, not as a crutch, however as part of his sport.
And as Bradley’s placing suffered, so too did his sport. In 26 occasions in 2016, he had two high 10s (the fewest of his profession) and missed a career-high 11 cuts. Bradley’s sport has ebbed and flowed in the final 5 years, however one thing has clicked the final three months, and Bradley is aware of precisely what it’s.
“When you putt poorly, golf isn’t that much fun,” Bradley mentioned. “But I’ve been putting very well since Phoenix.”
Since lacking back-to-back cuts in January, Bradley has performed in seven tournaments, beginning with the Phoenix Open in early February, and completed in the highest 30 six occasions. He’s coming off a T-4 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and had a T-10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The key to Bradley’s fast begin Thursday was easy. Of his seven birdies, three have been achieved by sinking putts of greater than 17 toes. He dropped consecutive putts of at least 30 toes on the 14th and fifteenth holes.
Bradley shot a 30 on the again 9.
“The putter’s been a lot better,” he mentioned. “After I won, putting went into a pretty big dip and I had to kind of work my way out of it again. I feel like I’m on the other side of that right now.”
Bradley credit lots of work along with his coach, Darren May, and caddie, Scotty Vail, for rediscovering his placing stroke.
“I got a lot of good things going my way right now,” he mentioned. “A really fun day.”
On and off the course.