Keegan Bradley leads PGA Tour’s Sony Open, has turned a surprising corner

Keegan Bradley leads PGA Tour’s Sony Open, has turned a surprising corner

Keegan Bradley and Grayson Murray hold a one-shot lead heading into the final day of the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii. The New Englander fired off a 63 on moving day to jump 13 spots and take a share of the lead.

“Today was one of those days where I had great numbers,” Bradley said after his round. “I could see every shot. I wasn’t very anxious on that many shots, which is super rare for me.”

This season marks his 14th season on the PGA Tour. By any standard, that would make him a veteran, and as a six-time winner on Tour, one would think he knows how to handle himself with a lead.

However, playing and playing with a lead are two different things. While some may be comfortable with it regardless of experience, Bradley hasn’t always been.

“Probably not until the last couple of years. It took me about 12 years until I felt like a veteran out here,” Bradley said. “I do now. I didn’t feel like even two, three years ago. Now I sort of feel a lot more comfortable, like days like today. Felt totally fine. I expect to be nervous tomorrow. Definitely have felt better in these situations.”

It’s interesting and surprising to hear someone who has been around for so long voice those sentiments. But clearly he is onto something, as he has taken his game to new heights the last couple years.

Last season, ahead of his sixth win at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, Bradley shot a 64 on Saturday to break the 54-hole scoring record. He played with the lead that Sunday and started hot.

However, coming down the stretch, he bogeyed three of his last six holes. It didn’t matter, though, because his lead was large enough for him to still win. He seemed comfortable toward the beginning of his round, but those nerves set in down the stretch.

Bradley is in a similar spot this week at the Sony Open. He and Murray may be at 14-under, but he’s still playing with a lead.

“I’m trying to just worry about myself. If I go out and shoot a good round tomorrow, it’s going to be tough to beat,” he said. “There’s a lot of great players and a lot of players within a handful of shots of the lead, so be difficult as usual.”

Bradley has been someone that a lot of people overlook. He won twice last season and was arguably snubbed of a Ryder Cup spot. However, when he is on his A-game, the world No. 16 player is hard to beat on the greens.

Despite there being 10 other guys within four shots of their lead, he knows for him to earn win No. 7, Sunday will have to be one of those days he grinds.

“It’s a tricky thing because you can’t be staring at the leaderboard all day,” Bradley said. “If you make a bogey or a few pars in a row, you can go from leading to 12th in a second. I got to go out tomorrow and probably shoot another pretty low one to win.”

His 14-under total ties his second-best 54-hole score. In the two previous times he went this low in three days, Bradley won. Will that happen on Sunday? He and Murray tee off alongside Sam Stevens at 2:50 p.m. ET. in the last group of the day.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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