/ Golf

Bradley lands PGA after play-off win

Updated: Monday, 15 Aug 2011 02:04

Keegan Bradley - The American recovered from a triple bogey on the 15th hole to land his first Major
Keegan Bradley - The American recovered from a triple bogey on the 15th hole to land his first Major

History was made in Atlanta as little-known Keegan Bradley, who was five shots behind with only three holes left and in the first major of his life, beat fellow American Jason Dufner in a three-hole play-off to become USPGA champion.

Read about the final day's play in Atlanta

Not only is Bradley the first player to capture a major with a long putter, but also seven majors in a row have now been taken by first-time winners - and that has not happened before either.

How it was Bradley and not Dufner, however, almost defied belief.

The 25-year-old, whose aunt Pat won six majors and is in the sport's Hall of Fame, looked to have blown his chances of becoming only the second player since 1913 to win on his major debut when he triple-bogeyed the short 15th.

But the world number 108, trying to emulate Ben Curtis in the 2003 Open at Sandwich, birdied the 16th and then made a near 40-footer for another at the 160-yard 17th.

In the group behind, meanwhile, world number 80 Dufner also went in the water at the 259-yard 15th and, after doing well to escape with a bogey there, he failed to get up and down from sand on the next and then three-putted the 17th.

Suddenly they were level on eight under par and after both parred the last - no mean effort with the lake in play for the first and second shots - to beat Dane Anders Hansen by one, they returned to the 16th.

Dufner almost holed his second shot, but Bradley also hit in to within five feet of the flag and he was the one to make the birdie putt.

A par was good enough to make the gap two as Dufner three-putted the 17th once more and, although Dufner made a brilliant birdie on the last, Bradley's par secured the title.

Before Curtis, the last player to win a major at the first attempt was Francis Ouimet at the 1913 US Open.

Swede Robert Karlsson felt the pressure, just like Dufner. He had been one behind, but bogeyed the last three and allowed Hansen to come third after a closing 66.

The shock was that on the first three days, Dufner was three under par for holes 15 to 18, two better than anybody else in the field. But they got him in the end just like they got just about everybody else at some stage.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood finished joint eighth, their late errors in the third round proving too much to recover from.

World number one Donald, so annoyed at himself for double-bogeying the last hole of his third round and falling six behind, was only three back after playing his first 12 holes in four under.

But he went in the water on the short 15th - start of the fearsome closing stretch at the Athletic Club - and bogeyed the last as well for only a 68.

World number two Westwood also finished three under par and also bogeyed the last - his only dropped stroke of a day when he once more could not get the putts to drop.

Westwood, playing his 55th major, said: "I played lovely again today. It's just one of those things.
"I felt like I stroked it a little bit better, but, having said that, I missed twice inside six feet in the first five holes.

"When you're looking to get off to a quick start that is not ideal. Then it was in the water at six and I made a nice 10-footer there for par.

"I didn't really hole that much, apart from 10 feet on 10.

"I have enjoyed playing great for a long time now, but unfortunately when I turn up to majors and I don't win it's a disappointing week for everybody it seems - and obviously for me."

Donald commented: "It was a missed opportunity again. At the beginning of the day I thought if I could get to six or seven under I might have a chance.

"But the guys out front really made it tough - they are playing well - and I thought I had to press a little bit hard and take on some pins on those last few holes.

"Obviously I hit a poor shot on 15. I just didn't strike it well enough."

Rory McIlroy grabbed a birdie at the 507-yard par-four 18th for the second day running.

Pre-tournament favourite McIlroy shot 74 to finish eleven over alongside Padraig Harrington in 64th spot in what is likely to be his last round in America for over six months.

McIlroy had talked of going off house-hunting in Florida this coming week, but in a change of plan he was heading off to Cincinnati.

"I hear it's nice this time of year," he said with a smile. It just so happens that tennis world number one Caroline Wozniacki is playing there. The pair are romantically involved.

"I am going to take a couple of weeks off to rest the wrist. I'm going to Cincinnati for a few days, home for the weekend and then go back out to New York.

"It will be nice and I will enjoy my two weeks off."

Why New York? The US Open tennis begins on August 29, with a warm-up event at nearby Yale University, where Wozniacki has won the last three years.

Harrington is altering his movements as well. He has entered this week's Wyndham Championship in North Carolina to try to qualify for the PGA Tour FedEx Cup play-offs.

Londoner Brian Davis finished level par, Ian Poulter four over, Ross Fisher five over, Simon Dyson six over and Paul Casey 14 over.

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