Keegan Bradley stumbled home, which is interesting because that’s exactly where he felt like he was.
Bradley, a New England native, overcame three late bogeys to shoot two-under-par 68 and win the 72nd Travelers Championship by three strokes over Zac Blair and Brian Harman at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Over the first 66 holes of the tournament, Bradley made only one bogey and built a six-stroke lead.
“This is so unbelievable to have all my family, friends and the great New England fans here to share this with me,” said Bradley, who claimed his sixth PGA Tour victory and second this season. “I played so well all week that I had enough left to coast home when I started to struggle a little.
“It’s just so amazing to win this tournament because it’s what I’ve always dreamed of since I was a kid, and it was the first PGA Tour event I ever watched in person. I’ve always considered this my home event, I came close to winning it in 2019, and I’m just so proud to finally win it after so long.
“This is for all the kids from New England who have to sit at home all Winter and watch everybody else play golf on TV because of the cold and snow.”
Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion who was playing in the Travelers for the 13th consecutive year, built his six-stroke lead by making five birdies on the first 12 holes and finished with a winning score of 23-under-par 257.
Blair, who returned recently after missing 21 months because of right shoulder surgery, sank a five-foot eagle putt on the 13th hole to go with eight birdies in a 62 that was low score of the day, while the left-handed Harman made four straight birdies down the stretch in a 64.
“It’s great to be back playing again after missing all that time,” said Blair, who was seeking his first PGA Tour victory after winning the 2019 Ellie Mae Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour and one other event in a prep tour. “When an injury or something like that happens, there are times when you wonder if you’ll ever play again.
“I made some good shots and putts on the front nine, but really got hot on the back nine, especially with that eagle. I played well all week, with four scores of 68 or better, but today I played almost as well as I can play and just want to keep it going. It’s such a good feeling to play like this.
“I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and the rest of the season.”
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler sank a 10-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole and added late three birdies in a 65 that left him four shots behind in a tie for fourth with fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who made three straight birdies on the back nine in a 67, and Chez Reavie, the 2019 Travelers champion, who made his only two birdies down the stretch to salvage a 71.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland birdied five of the first seven holes in a 64 and was one more down in a tie for seventh with Denny McCarthy, the first-round leader at 60, who carded a bogey-free 67.
Justin Thomas made three birdies on the back nine in a 67 to wind up six strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Corey Conners of Canada, who made three birdies on each nine in a 66, Min Woo Lee of Australia, who had three birdies on the front nine in a 67, and Alex Smalley, who made his lone bogey on the last hole in another 67.
Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, the defending champion, birdied four of the first eight holes in a second straight 67 to tie for 19th, fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway tied for 29th after a 66 that included three birdies down the stretch, and eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England birdied three of the first six holes in a 68 to tie for 49th.
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