AKRON: Keegan Bradley stunningly clinched the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by one shot on Sunday after playing partner Jim Furyk, a stroke in front playing the last, double-bogeyed the 18th to tumble back into a tie for second.
American Bradley, who won his first major crown at last year’s PGA Championship, coolly sank a 15-footer to save par on the final hole for a six-under 64 and a 13-under total of 267 at a rain-softened Firestone Country Club. It was an agonising end for tour veteran Furyk who had led the tournament from the first round and it came after he fell out of a tie for the lead with three holes to play at the US Open in June.
“This just feels so great,” an elated Bradley said after landing his third PGA Tour title and the winner’s cheque for $1.4 million. “I just felt so strong coming down the stretch. I just enjoyed every minute of it. My hope standing on the 18th tee was to make birdie and maybe force a playoff, but you just never know what’s going to happen, especially with that pin on 18. That’s a really difficult pin.”
Bradley all but sewed up an automatic spot on the 2012 US Ryder Cup team with his come-from-behind triumph. “I just want to be on that team so badly,” said the 26-year-old. “I hope this is enough to get on there.”
Bradley had been in trouble playing the par-four last, finding a plugged lie in a greenside bunker with a wayward approach and splashing out well beyond the hole with his third shot. However he coolly sank the par putt coming back before pumping his right fist in delight, then watched in amazement as a distraught Furyk butchered the hole.
Overnight leader Furyk missed a five-footer for bogey to take the tournament into a playoff and tapped in for a six and closing 69 to finish at 12 under with fellow American Steve Stricker, who birdied the last three holes for a 64.
South African Louis Oosthuizen, alone in second place after the third round, was a further stroke back in fourth after carding a four-birdie 69. Seven-times champion Tiger Woods, who had struggled with his putting in the first two rounds, signed off with a 66 to tie for eighth at four-under 276. Furyk, seeking a 17th PGA Tour title after firing a best-of-the-week 63 in the opening round, appeared to be heading for a wire-to-wire victory as he played the final hole.