Bradley has reason to shine at Sherwood, Watney leads

Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:51pm EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - American Keegan Bradley struck a timely blow for users of the beleaguered belly putter by charging into contention with a three-under-par 69 in Thursday's first round at the World Challenge.

Just one day after golf's rulemakers proposed a ban on long putters being anchored to the body, Bradley proved his lofty status as a player is underpinned by his all-round game as he reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation at Sherwood Country Club.

While compatriot Nick Watney set the pace with a five-birdie 67 in the elite 18-player event hosted by Tiger Woods, Bradley mixed four birdies with a lone bogey to end a damp, overcast day level with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.

Five-times champion Woods, who ended a two-year title drought with a one-shot victory here 12 months ago, was a further stroke back on 70 with fellow Americans Bo Van Pelt and Webb Simpson.

"Today was awesome," Bradley, who became the first player to win a major using a belly putter at the 2011 PGA Championship, told reporters.

"I did have a bad break on the last hole, but I played so solidly all day, that's the only green I missed. If I could have made a few more putts, I probably could have been a lot lower."

Bradley marred his round with a bogey at the par-four 18th where his tee shot ended up against a tree root beside a small rock to the right of the fairway.

"It was a bad break, but also if it didn't hit that root, it probably would have rolled all the way back down that hill. It was a good day, and I'll make a better swing on 18 tomorrow."   Continued...

 
Keegan Bradley of the U.S. tees off on the 18th hole during the first round of the World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok