Bradley has reason to shine at Sherwood, Watney leads
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...