Bradley gets first PGA win in 11 years|
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico (Sports Network) - Michael Bradley birdied the 18th
hole and shot a two-under 70 on Sunday to win the Puerto Rico Open, his first
PGA Tour victory in 11 years.
Bradley picked up his third career win -- his first since the 1998 Doral-Ryder
Open -- at 14-under-par 274. He did it while beating two players who were
looking for their first wins.
Brett Quigley birdied five of his final 10 holes, including the 16th and 18th,
but it wasn't enough to break his 12-year losing streak on the PGA Tour. He
has now made 341 career starts without a win.
Jason Day, who shared the overnight lead with Bradley, was tied with his
playing partner headed to the 18th tee. But he managed only a par -- his fifth
straight par to end the round -- and joined Quigley in a tie for second place
when Bradley closed with his birdie.
Quigley (67) and Day (71) finished one stroke back at 13-under 275.
Bart Bryant and Greg Chalmers both shot rounds of 68 to share fourth place at
12-under 276, while John Merrick (66) and J.P. Hayes (68) ended two strokes
further back at 278.
Bradley, 42, is in the second year of a fledgling comeback.
He re-gained his tour card and played just eight times in 2007 due to a
fractured ankle, but was granted a major medical exemption for the '08 season.
Taking advantage of that, Bradley made more starts (14) and cuts (eight) than
he had since 2000.
Now, in his first start this season, he has finally won again.
Bradley broke the overnight tie with Day when he birdied the first hole to
take a one-shot lead. That advantage grew to three strokes when Day double-
bogeyed the second, but things would be much closer for the majority of the
Bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes -- coupled with Day's birdie at the
fifth -- dropped Bradley into a tie for the lead again. He birdied No. 8 to
move ahead by one.
No. 11 provided another turning point when Day made birdie, and Bradley made
bogey, to give Day a one-shot lead.
The tournament was decided on the final seven holes.
Bradley played them at three-under par, collecting birdies at the 12th, 15th
and 18th holes. Day made only one further birdie -- at the 13th. They were
both tied with Quigley -- who had closed with a birdie in the group ahead --
as they arrived on the tee at the par-five 18th.
Bradley's two-putt birdie earned him the win, a $630,000 check and a two-year
exemption on the PGA Tour -- pretty good from a guy who wasn't sure how he'd
respond playing in the final group.
"It's been so long since I've been there. But, you know, my short game was
good this week. It cured some ills that I had," said Bradley.
"I'm almost 43 and you don't know really know how many opportunities you're
going to have," he said. "[I'm] not like Tiger that every week you play you've
got a chance to win. He usually does. I'm not Tiger Woods. So when I do have
an opportunity, come a Sunday, that maybe I have a chance to win, it's
probably a little more special."
Day's 18th hole, which began with a drive down the middle of the fairway, was
undone by his approach shot into a bunker. Although he produced a nice sand
shot, he couldn't get his birdie try to drop.
"I'm disappointed that I couldn't finish it off," said Day, "but I'm very
happy with myself that I actually put myself into contention, and I held my
head up, and I nearly won the tournament.
"I know there's going to be plenty more wins coming my way as long as I work
hard and keep moving forward."
03/15 18:12:14 ET