Norton, Mass. — After posting a 2-over 73 in Saturday’s second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, Keegan Bradley had every reason to believe he would, for the second straight year, be making a hasty exit from TPC Boston.
It’s a good thing he went back to the range after signing his scorecard, though, because the native New Englander made the cut on the number, at 2-over, and will have two more days to shore up a golf game that has gone disappointingly south since he won the Bridgestone Invitational and tied for third at the PGA Championship earlier this month.
Bradley, who said on Friday he had been lucky to post an even-par, claimed that playing a home game put no additional pressure on his slender shoulders; he simply could not get anything going.
“Just was poor golf. Just didn’t play very well. Just a lot of really bad shots and missed putts,” an obviously down-hearted Bradley said after carding four birdies, two bogeys, and two doubles. “I didn’t feel great today, tried to battle as much as I could….It was just a tough week.”
Unbeknownst to him at the time, the week was not yet over, although the pride of Woodstock, Vt., and St. John’s University could not explain why he was on the verge of missing his second straight FedEx Cup event on home turf. Last week’s Barclays event was at Bethpage Black, a course Bradley played often as a member of his college golf team, while this week’s tilt at TPC Boston was another favorite haunt of the Hopkinton (Mass.) high grad.
He was also at a loss as to the reason he played so poorly in front of friends and family two years running. Bradley missed the cuts at both opening FedEx Cup events last year, although back then he was coming off his exhilarating PGA Championship win and has conceded he likely stretched himself too thin with family and other obligations.
Along with hoping to figure out what was ailing his game, Bradley said he looked forward to having his regular caddie back by his side for next week’s contest. Steven “Pepsi” Hale had the week off, so a college friend was on Bradley’s bag for the week.
“Yeah, I did [miss Hale],” he said. “My buddy George [Zolotis] did a good job. I’m looking forward to having Pepsi back out there.”
Whatever the outcome this week, golfer and looper will reunite at Crooked Stick Golf Club, the site of this year’s BMW Championship, since Bradley entered the Deutsche Bank ranked 13th in FedEx Cup points. The top 70 will move on to the next level.
The other two members of Team New England will also be around for the Labor Day festivities. J.J. Henry, from Fairfield Conn., carded a second-round 73 and will enter the third round at even-par, while Scott Stallings, who was born in nearby Worcester, Mass., was 1-over for the week.
“I knew 2 [over] had a decent chance to play the weekend,” Stallings told PGATour.com after canning a 41-foot putt for birdie on his final hole (the ninth) on Saturday. At the time he was 2-over, and so was the projected cut line.
“That 40-footer was a lot bigger than just playing the weekend,” said Stallings, who entered the tournament in 61st place in the FedEx Cup points race.
Heading into Sunday ranked 72nd, Stallings still has a way to go before he can purchase a ticket to Carmel, Indiana. But at least he has a chance to advance to the BMW.
“I’m in a situation where I can go out and be aggressive,” he said. “I go out early tomorrow and hopefully get a chance to move up the board.”
All three will be chasing 36-hole leader Rory McIlroy, who fired a second consecutive 65 and will tee off Sunday with a one-shot advantage over Louis Oosthuizen. Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore are two back of McIlroy.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminerWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?