HONOLULU — Keegan Bradley had one of those days every golfer dreams of —the type where everything falls into place.
“Today was one of those days where just like I had great numbers. I could see every shot,” he said. “I just had a blast out there with Scotty (Vail), my caddie. We just did a great job together.”
Bradley made eight birdies en route to shooting 7-under 63 at Wailae Country Club to share the 54-hole in the Sony Open in Hawaii with Grayson Murray at 14-under 196.
For Bradley, it all began when he struck a perfect drive, a perfect 6-iron and rolled in the birdie putt.
“I just felt calm all day, which isn’t normal for me,” said Bradley, an understatement from one of the most fidgety golfers in the game.
Sony Open: Final round tee times
Bradley said he has always enjoyed playing this tournament and thought it was a course where he could win despite the fact he has never recorded a top-10 finish in 11 previous appearances. He blamed a balky putter in the past for his less-than-stellar record. But this week, he has gained more than two strokes on the greens in the first and third rounds and ranks T-11 for the week. After struggling on the greens when the governing bodies banned his trusty belly putter, Bradley’s putter has become a weapon again.
“I never knew if I’d get back to a level where I was with the belly putter,” he said. “At this point, I feel like I’ve surpassed it. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of dark days.”
He made a clutch sandy at 16 and then stuffed a 6 iron inside 7 feet at the par-3 17th and made the putt.
“Just a perfect cut 6 iron into the wind,” he said.
Bradley knows he likely won’t be able to count on hitting so many perfect shots in the final round, but he’s embracing the chance to earn his seventh career PGA Tour title.
“I’ve been here before and I’ve never felt more confident being in this position,” said Bradley, who has converted a 54-hole lead or co-lead into victory just once in five previous occasions in his career. “I now look forward to days like tomorrow.”
Grayson Murray is attempting to script his own redemption story this week on the PGA Tour. He shot 6-under 64 on Saturday to share the 54-hole lead with Bradley.