An iron player of Keegan Bradley’s calibre should be able to compete every week on the PGA Tour, but as many pros will tell you, it all comes down to putting.
That’s why when Bradley gets it rolling, he’s bound to go low like he did on Thursday at the RBC Canadian Open, where he opened with a bogey-free seven-under 63 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club to grab the solo lead. Bradley, who ranks 206th in strokes-gained/putting on the season, ranks 17th in the field through 18 holes.
“Just solid top to bottom,” Bradley said of his first round. “I hit almost every fairway, almost every green, and then holed some putts.
“With me it’s all about the putter. When that thing gets going I can do stuff like I did today.”
The weeks his flat stick has got going this season, Bradley has put himself in position to win. A few bad Sundays have caused him to fall down the leaderboard though, and Bradley has only two top 10s despite being in the mix multiple times through 54 holes.
“Hasn’t been quite the year I wanted, but that can change real quick,” he said.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 6, 2019
Four players are just one back of Bradley, including Shane Lowry, who has quietly come on strong of late. After a T-3 at the RBC Heritage, Lowry appeared to be headed for an early exit at Bethpage Black following a first-round 75, but he rebounded with rounds of 69, 68 and 69 to finish T-8, the second-highest finish in a Major for the Irishman.
Graeme McDowell, who has still not qualified for the Open Championship, which will be played in his home town at Royal Portrush, started with a five-under 65. He and Matt Kuchar are among a large group of players tied for sixth. Canada’s Nick Taylor (64) and Adam Hadwin (65) are also at the top of the leaderboard.
Veteran Rod Pampling is the best-paced Aussie, sitting in a tie for 57th at one-under.