After a disastrous triple bogey on the par 3 15th hole most guys would let the wheels completely fall off and stumble their way in to the clubhouse. 25 year old Keegan Bradley on the other hand dug deep, real deep, and went on to a birdie-birdie-par finish to secure a spot in a 3-hole playoff with Jason Dufner. That is some serious toughness, even for the most seasoned of players, let alone a rookie playing in his first ever major championship. He never gave up, and clawed himself back in to contention

After last year’s “bunkergate” you had to figure the drama would be hard to live up to. This year’s certainly gave 2010 a run for its money.

With Bradley taking a triple bogey it seemed all Jason Dufner had to do was make a few pars and the championship was his. Between Bradley’s stellar play and Dufner taking a couple of bogeys himself down the stretch, it was game on and the second 3-hole playoff in as many years for the PGA Championship.

As the players took back to the 16th hole against the setting sun the playoff had a match play feel to it, even though it’s determined by each players aggregate score. The final three holes of Atlanta Country Club are the toughest final stretch in major championship history, and between regulation and the 3-hole playoff Keegan Bradley played them at 3 under par.

As a New England native I take extra pride in Bradley’s victory. There aren’t many PGA Tour champions from this neck of the woods, let alone a major champion. With his win Bradley becomes the first major champion to ever use a long putter, as well as the first from the state of Vermont, and the first American major champion since Phil Mickelson’s 2010 Masters victory. At this moment I’m sure the locals are climbing down from their trees and hoisting a Long Trail Ale or some Ben & Jerry’s in honor of the state’s new poster boy.

Last week I created a poll that asked my readers who they thought would be the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. Keegan Bradley didn’t garner a single vote. Anyone care to retake that poll?

Jeff Palopoli also writes at his blog www.goodwalkgolf.com