Keegan Bradley/Greenwood/Getty Images
Keegan Bradley won the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, after Jim Furyk flopped over on the last hole. Another tournament that did not follow the script, this is why people watch golf, it’s never done and dusted. Standing on the tee at eighteen Jim had a one stroke lead. He proceeded to hit a poor tee shot, which hit a tree but fortunately rebounded back into play on the fairway. He followed that shot with another poor effort that landed in the short but tough rough on the edge of the front bunker. Keegan’s second shot into the green, from the fairway, plunged into the same bunker that Jim had just missed. At this point no one knew who had the better option on the third shot, Jim chipping over the bunker from the rough, or Keegan trying to extricate himself out of the bunker from a plugged lie. Jim duffed his and Keegan came out of the bunker beautifully albeit 15 feet from the hole. Jim’s next effort left him just 5 feet from the hole, which appeared good enough seeing as Keegan was still some distance from the cup. Keegan sunk his putt for a four, and Jim then missed his short put for a five and a play-off. What drama, the strange twists and turns on the last hole, and poor Jim who had led the tournament right up until his last putt on the last hole. Jim said about his performance;
“I led the golf tournament the entire way and lost it on the very last hole. To get that close and to know that I played more than good enough to win the golf tournament, and not close the door, is disappointing. It is a cruel game. I’ve lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don’t think I’ve let one ever slip nearly as bad as this one. This was my worst effort to finish off an event. My worst putt of the week. I have no one to blame but myself, but when things go wrong, it’s an empty feeling. I’m disappointed. I walked over, my boy is crying right after the round. And I guess it reminds you as an adult, as a parent, that you have to act the proper way. You have to do and say the right things to try to give the right lessons. But there’s no way I should have made any worse than 5 on the last hole, there’s no way I should have done worse than a playoff. Keegan played a heck of a back nine, he did everything he needed to do to win the golf tournament. I felt like I did the same, until the 18th hole.”
Keegan was on top of the world, insisting he never thought he would miss that last putt, to preserve his -13 under par total.
“I didn’t think for a second I was going to miss it. It was unbelievable. I got behind it, and I barely even had to read it. I knew the exact way it was going to break. I just needed to hit it hard enough. I knew that. And it was dead center. My hope standing on the 18th tee was to make birdie and maybe force a playoff, but you know, just from being out here, you just never know what’s going to happen.”
Keegan had a last round -6 under par 64, while Jim could only muster a -1 under par 69. Yesterday I called this competition a two-horse race, it turned out to be an exciting adventure with the pack chasing down Jim Furyk. Steve Stricker finished with a -12 total, to tie Jim for second place, leaving Louis Oosthuizen alone in fourth spot.
At eight under were Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who must both be pretty pleased with their overall performance. Luke Donald plodded his way round for a par round, but managed to finish in the top ten, and he must now be thinking of Kiawah Island next week. He will need a improved performance if he is to contend there.