Keegan Bradley captures BMW Championship, more with playoff victory

Sep 10, 2018; Newtown Square, PA, USA; Keegan Bradley reacts after defeating Justin Rose (not pictured) in a playoff hole in the final round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Aronimink GC. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Keegan Bradley captures BMW Championship, more with playoff victory

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Keegan Bradley captures BMW Championship, more with playoff victory

NEWTON SQUARE, Pa. – It was a messy week at Aronimink Golf Club and Keegan Bradley made a mess of the 72nd hole Monday.

He needed help after a closing with bogey at 18 and got it from Justin Rose, who also bogeyed the final hole to drop back to 20 under. Bradley made the most of his second chance and won the BMW Championship, ending a six-year winless drought with a par on the first sudden-death playoff hole.

The 2011 PGA Championship winner had a hard time transitioning away from the anchored putting style and has seen quite a few lows over the past few years. He entered the week just hoping to make it to the Tour Championship at East Lake and left with so much more.

“It’s so gratifying to get what comes with hard work,” Bradley said. “Sometimes you never even get it. To be back here and win this tournament is just incredible.”

Bradley shot 20-under 260 for the week with a 64 Monday – play was called off Sunday due to heavy rains – and moved from 52nd to sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. Rose, the 54-hole leader, shot 3-under 67 and had a 15-footer for par on 18 that would have given him the win. The putt lipped out of the cup to force him into the playoff with Bradley.

“It’s the best putt I’ve ever hit to try and win a tournament,” Rose said. “I thought that thing was in the middle, but it wasn’t to be.”

With the runnerup finish, Rose ascended to World No. 1. Billy Horschel and Xander Schauffele finished T-3 at 19 under and Rory McIlroy was solo fifth at 18 under.

Keegan Bradley won his 1st PGA Tour trophy in six years. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Bradley trailed by three shots going into the final round and atoned for a disappointing Sunday in New Jersey, where he had a chance to win the Northern Trust two weeks ago before shooting 78 in Round 4.

“It’s a game changer for a player like me that’s not in the top 50 to get in the Tour Championship,” Bradley said. “You’re in all the WGCs, or most of them. You’re in all the majors. And that’s so huge for a player where I am at this point, because then I can play my way back into the top 50.”

A small but dedicated group of umbrella-toting locals made their way to the course for the Monday finish and saw a good show for their efforts.

A good number of them found their way to Woods, who shot 4-under 31 on the front nine and got within one of the lead early on the day, closing with a 5-under 65. Woods opened with an 8-under 62 for a share of the first-round lead but couldn’t keep it up with the putter. He missed a ton of makeable ones while falling off pace with an even-par 70 Friday and a couple more on the back nine Monday to finish T-6 and secure his spot in the Tour Championship.

“To have a chance to win again this year, it’s a very positive feeling,” Woods said. “If I made a few more putts this week, could have been a different deal coming down the stretch.”

Jordan Spieth was the odd man out at 31st in the standings and will miss the Tour Championship following a 3-over 73 in the final round.

Woods and the other 29 men left standing have the week off before finishing the season at East Lake Sept. 20-23.

That group now includes Bradley, who fought as hard as anyone to get there.

“It’s scary when I look back, because I didn’t know I needed this much improvement,” Bradley said. “To put it all together, especially with the putter the way it was this week and the way it’s becoming, it’s so gratifying. For a little while I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get back to this spot, and today I did it.” Gwk

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