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Golf Australia Express : Issue 25
PLAYER THE His grandfather, Richard, was a former golfer. And of course his aunt, LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, is a golf legend. In fact the game was so much a part of the Bradleys life they were even named ‘Golf Family of the Year’ in 1989— whatever that means. Keegan attributes much of his success and on- course grit to Pat, who had a similar demeanour when she ruled the fairways during the 70s and 80s. Watching highlights of your aunt winning six LPGA majors and 36 events worldwide can only have a lasting influence on a budding pro. And it was Pat who encouraged Keegan to seek out Phil Mickelson as a mentor—an alliance that’s not only yielded him valuable advice, but a formidable friend also. AFTER GIVING up skiing as a teen to focus his attention on golf, Bradley became quite the over- achiever. By the time he was ready to graduate in 2008, he’d already collected wins at nine collegiate events as an amateur. Turning pro the same year, he quickly tasted success with two wins on the Hooters Tour before being elevated to the second-tier Nationwide Tour in 2009. For many young, talented hopefuls that’s often where the dream ends, but for Bradley the next three years would prove life changing. Earning himself a spot on the PGA Tour last year after a late surge of four top 5 finishes on the Nationwide in 2010, Bradley quickly showed he wasn’t content in being just another rookie making up numbers out there. This man was not looking to learn a lesson from the veterans—he wanted to teach them one. He finished T7 in just his second PGA event— the Bob Hope Classic— and followed it up with another top 10 at the Valero Texas Open. But his breakthrough came at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May, where he held off Ryan Palmer in a playoff to secure his maiden victory. And like much Keegan’s aunt, Pat Bradley, is an LPGA Hall of Fame inductee and has been influential in her nephew’s success. of his golf, that win opened up another door—entry into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he eventually finished T15 after sharing the 36-hole lead. A week later he played in his first major: the PGA Championship. And the rest, they say, is history. His three-hole playoff win over Jason Dufner made him just the third player in history to win a major at his first attempt. At the time, he jumped from No.108 in the world to No.28. Today he sits comfortably at No.20 and is threatening to break inside the top 10 this season. HERE AT OTG, we openly admit that Bradley’s one of our favourite golfers. He’s exciting, humble, wears his heart on his sleeve, has no problem riding his emotions—good or bad—and fights every battle on course to the very death. Yep, we love him. Oh, and he can play a little bit, too. OTG