Keegan Bradley takes major leap toward Augusta with strong CIMB finish


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Keegan Bradley knows what it feels like to watch major championships and team events from home.

Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship in his major championship debut, snapped a five-year streak of playing in all four majors last season as he missed out on both the Masters and the British Open.

Oh, and after making two Ryder Cup teams and a Presidents Cup squad from 2012-14, Bradley has been left off U.S. teams in each of the past three years.

“It stinks,” Bradley said back at the BMW Championship, where Bradley contended before fading to a T-27. His season ended there at Conway Farms and Bradley also was denied a trip to East Lake, which would’ve assured him a spot in all four majors in 2018.

“You start feeling bad for yourself,” he added. “It’s just you’ve got to put more effort in, work harder and practice harder and play more … and hopefully it will pay off.”

After a runner-up showing at the CIMB Classic, Bradley has new hope to return to the days when he was a regular in the Tour’s biggest events.

He couldn’t chase down Pat Perez in Malaysia, but he is tied for third in the early FedEx Cup standings. The finish, his best on Tour since a runner-up at the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, also moved Bradley up 34 spots to 64th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He had dipped as low as No. 122 this year. (If he cracks the top 50 by the end of the year, he’ll punch his ticket to Augusta National this April – and other major invites could follow.)

“I’m really proud of this week,” Bradley said Sunday.

And that he should be. Bradley, who has already played in the first two events of the new season, figures to have a busy fall before taking some time off to become a dad. Bradley and his wife, Jillian, are expecting their first child, a boy, on Nov. 18.

Bradley would undoubtedly love to have his wife and son in white come April as he plays the Masters Par 3 Contest.

(Note: This story appears in the Oct. 16, 2017 issue of Golfweek.)


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