One of the most unlikely of names snapped the winless American streak in major championships. Keegan Bradley, a former golfer at St. John’s, became the first American to win one of golf’s four majors since Phil Mickelson won the 2010 Masters. Bradley’s playoff victory over Jason Dufner at the PGA Championship halted the international dominance at six consecutive majors.
Bradley played four years of college golf for Frank Darby at St. John’s, a Division I school in Queens, N.Y., and a member of the Big East Conference. Bradley won nine times from fall 2004 to spring 2008. Before Bradley’s emergence during the past year, if you were told a former Red Storm golfer was going to win a major, you likely would have picked Andrew Svoboda.
Svoboda, who finished his career at St. John’s in 2003, has played in three U.S. Opens and has exempt status on the Nationwide Tour.
However, Bradley is the Redmen alumnus who is holding the Wanamaker Trophy. His path to winning the PGA Championship nonetheless was improbable.
During his freshman year in college, Bradley finished the season at No. 899 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. He improved each season, finishing No. 408 as a sophomore, No. 153 as a junior and No. 94 as a senior. The top players in the college game in each of those years were: UNLV’s Ryan Moore (2004-05), Oklahoma State’s Pablo Martin (2005-06), USC’s Jamie Lovemark (2006-07) and Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler (2007-08).
Bradley, who also won the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic in May, now has more Tour victories than Moore, Martin, Lovemark and Fowler combined. Moore is the only one of the foursome to have won on the PGA Tour, at the 2009 Wyndham Championship.