CROMWELL, CT– New England native Keegan Bradley collected his first victory of the 2023 PGA Tour season at the Travelers Championship on June 25th. And what better place to do it than TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT, right in the very crux of New England?
Keegan Bradley Wins at Travelers Championship
Bradley’s New England Roots
Bradley grew up in Woodstock, VT, where he excelled in alpine ski racing, before deciding at age 13 that he wanted to focus primarily on his golf game, though he still raced in high school. At Woodstock High School, Bradley’s contributions on his alpine ski racing team led Woodstock to finish in a tie for second at Okemo Mountain in 2003.
Born into a family of golfers, though, Keegan decided decided he wanted to have the same impact on the game that his family members have had. His father Mark is the current head golf professional at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club. Keegan’s aunt, Pat Bradley, played in the LPGA, winning three major championships. Ms. Bradley’s success on Tour in the LPGA led her to being enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Keegan in his 12 plus years on Tour has made a name for himself, collecting 6 wins, including two in the 2023 season, on Tour to go along with appearances in the 2013 Presidents’ Cup as well as the 2012 and 2014 Ryder Cups. But it wasn’t always that easy, and even after Keegan’s early success, the game of golf always has a way of humbling even its biggest stars.
Shortly after making the decision as a 13 year old to pursue golf over alpine ski racing, Keegan spent some time in Portsmouth, NH with his dad, Mark Bradley; Mark served as assistant head pro at Portsmouth Country Club from 2001 through 2002. Despite spending some time in Portsmouth, Keegan played his high school golf at Woodstock High School in Vermont through his junior year. Heading into his senior year of high school, Keegan moved to another part of New England, this time Hopkinton, MA.
Keegan Bradley’s Ascension at Hopkinton, Though Still Overlooked
In his senior season at Hopkinton High School, Keegan was the Division 2 Massachusetts State Individual Golf Champion, and he was named the Massachusetts Golfer of the Year, leading his Hopkinton team to a victory at the Division 2 Massachusetts’ State Golf Championship in 2004. The list of accolades is endless. The accolades though did little to garner the interest of big time college golf programs. According to Bradley’s Hopkinton High School golf coach Dick Bliss, “Keegan was flying under the radar. If a par 4 was under 350 yards he could think about driving the green, but still, not many big-time college recruiters gave him much of a look.”
St. John’s University Believes in Bradley, and He Doesn’t Disappoint
One of the few schools to give Bradley a shot was St. John’s University in Queens, NY, where Bradley ultimately decided to take his talents. Bradley picked up right where he left off at Hopkinton while at St. John’s; he was the low scorer for St. John’s in three of its five spring events his freshman season. In just his second golf tournament at the college level, Bradley finished in a tie for third at the Rutgers Invitational. And Bradley’s golf game only improved as his college career progressed.
As a sophomore, Bradley was St. John’s low scorer in nine of twelve event starts, finishing in the top 10 in nine of those twelve starts. Bradley won the individual champion title at The Tillinghast, finished third at the Big East Championship, and over the summer, he broke the course record by four strokes at Three Crowns Golf Club while playing there for the Wyoming State Match Play Championships, shooting a 63.
Bradley carried this momentum with him into his final two seasons at St. John’s. His junior season was remarkable. Keegan won four individual tournaments, including a record-setting performance on his way to a win at the Treasure Coast Classic Championship. Over the course of his three rounds, Bradley took 192 strokes to get around the course (63-65-64), 21-under par, the lowest score ever recorded by a Johnnie in a three day event. Over the course of his four years as a Johnnie, Bradley won nine events.
Bradley Turns Pro in 2008 On the Oldest Developmental Tour in Golf
In 2008, after graduating from St. John’s with his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Keegan started work in the bag room at Wheatley Hills in East Williston, NY. Shortly thereafter, Bradley made the decision to turn pro. Bradley spent 2008 through 2010 on the NGA Pro Golf Tour, the oldest developmental golf league in the United States. In the 2008 season, Bradley made five starts, winning in his final start at Southern Dunes.
On the NGA Tour in 2009, Bradley missed 4 cuts in his first 26 starts, earning $84, 000. Bradley also competed in two Nationwide Tour events that same year. In the hopes of earning his PGA Tour card for the 2010 PGA Tour season, Bradley went through Q School in 2009, though he fell just two strokes short of earning his PGA Tour card.
The next year, Bradley again played on the Nationwide Tour, earning his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season with four top-5 finishes; Bradley finished fourteenth on the Nationwide Tour’s money list that same year.
Bradley Finds Immediate Success on the PGA Tour in 2011
Once Keegan earned his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season, he wasted absolutely no time. In May of his rookie season, Bradley won the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Invitational on the first hole of a playoff with Ryan Palmer. Three months later, in the beginning of August, Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship in a three hole playoff with Jason Dufner, a win which remains Bradley’s only major championship victory. And in 2012, Bradley added a World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational victory to his resume. Bradley’s early success led him to be selected to the U.S.’ Ryder Cup team of 2012 and the Presidents’ Cup team of 2013.
Bradley Records High Volume of Second Place Finishes from 2013 Through 2014
From 2013 through 2014, Bradley recorded several second place finishes, including two in 2013. Bradley’s seven top-10 finishes in 2013 led to him being the eleventh highest earner on Tour that year. And in 2014, Bradley finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida; Bradley finished in the top-10 six times, and he finished 28th on the Money List in 2014. Bradley’s strong play led to him being a captain’s pick in the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland. Despite a high volume of second place finishes between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Keegan went the 2013 PGA Tour season through the 2017 season without recording a victory on Tour.
Bradley’s Winless Streak Shattered; Next Few Seasons Are a Struggle
Bradley’s winless streak from 2013 through 2017 was shattered when he won the BMW Championship to close out the 2018 season. After ending the 2018 season on a high note, Bradley did not win another tournament until he won the ZOZO Championship in October of 2022. This win catapulted Bradley into 2023.
Bradley’s Travelers Championship Victory Adds to Successful 2023
Bradley’s latest accomplishment, winning the Travelers Championship on June 25th, adds to his very successful 2023 campaign. Not only did Bradley win the Travelers, he did so in record-setting fashion, shooting 23-under par (257 strokes) over the course of his four rounds. Keegan currently ranks 17th in the Official World Golf rankings, boosted significantly by his remarkable Travelers’ performance.
Bradley played like a man on a mission all weekend long. And he was. He has accumulated some doubters over the past several years. Those that say he can’t finish tournaments. Those that say when Bradley is on the verge of winning, he just can’t get it done on Sunday, when it counts. Well, Bradley certainly shut those people up at the Travelers. He got the job done on one of New England’s biggest golf stages, the Travelers, a tournament Bradley set out to win since his PGA Tour debut nearly 12 years ago now. New England’s own, Keegan Bradley, on top again!