POTOMAC, Md. — Keegan Bradley did nothing particular on the one straightforward scoring day this week on the Wells Fargo Championship, opening with an even-par 70 that left him across the minimize line.
Because the situations obtained harder, Bradley has been the very best participant at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
Bradley shot the bottom rating for the second straight day Saturday, a 3-under 67 that gave him a three-day whole of 8-under 202 and a 2-shot lead over Max Homa in British Open climate on a U.S. Open-style course.
About 2 inches of rain has fallen since Friday morning, but the low-lying course close to the Potomac River has held up nicely sufficient to keep away from any delays in play. Temperatures dropped into the low 40s Fahrenheit on Saturday.
“It felt like a Patriots playoff sport on the market in December,” mentioned Bradley, who grew up in New England. “It was enjoyable, however I am glad to be achieved.”
Bradley was one in all 4 gamers to shoot within the 60s. The scoring common was 73.7, the best relative to par on the PGA Tour because the closing spherical of the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
Though he has just one win up to now 9 years, the 35-year-old Bradley has been stable not too long ago, with top-10 finishes in three of his previous 5 occasions, together with fifth on the Gamers Championship throughout one other week of unhealthy climate.
The attention-popping quantity for a participant whose putter has held him again: Bradley ranks second within the discipline this week in placing by the PGA Tour’s “strokes gained” metric. His key makes on Saturday: 14 toes for birdie on the par-3 ninth gap, 21 toes for birdie on the powerful par-4 eleventh, 9 toes for birdie on the sixteenth and, lastly, 8 toes to avoid wasting par after going bunker-to-bunker on the closing gap.
“At this time and yesterday have been simply actually good ball-striking and actually good placing. It is uncommon that we match these up and I’ve matched that up these final two days,” Bradley mentioned. “If I can simply preserve that going somewhat bit, I am going to like my probabilities.”
A win by Bradley would transfer him into the highest 60 on the planet, making him exempt for the U.S. Open at The Nation Membership in Brookline, Massachusetts.
“It is on my thoughts,” he mentioned. “I do know what’s at stake.”
Jason Day‘s retooled swing could not maintain up for a 3rd straight day. The chief after 18 and 36 holes, Day started struggling along with his driver earlier than it spilled over to the remainder of the bag. He discovered the identical pond on consecutive holes — a driver that by no means crossed dry land on the par-4 fourth, resulting in triple bogey, and a 3-wood that hooked violently on the fifth.
Day appeared to lose his grip on the membership when he hit one other hook right into a water hazard along with his second shot on the par-5 tenth, although he had half a dozen gloves hanging from the ribs of his umbrella. He shot 79 to fall 7 photographs off the lead.
“Sadly I simply did not have my stuff right this moment,” Day mentioned. “I made a number of errors on the market and hitting into penalty areas. It is OK. I’ve simply obtained to get again to it tomorrow and attempt to discover some positives.”
Homa shot a gradual 71 whereas enjoying companions Day and Luke Listing struggled. Homa discovered fairways and hit conservative strategy photographs for routine pars. He went from trailing Day by 2 to main by 2 in a span of two holes that he performed in even par. However consecutive bogeys on the again 9 allowed Bradley to move him.
The day’s second-best rating belonged to Rory McIlroy, who made the minimize on the quantity and performed on the alternative facet of the course from the leaders. The best-ranked participant within the discipline at No. 7, McIlroy bogeyed his first two holes, made 4 birdies earlier than the flip and closed with 9 straight pars for a 68 that moved him right into a tie for sixth at 2 below.
“While you see situations like this, it’s a must to have a reasonably upbeat perspective in the direction of it and for me it was simply grateful to be right here,” McIlroy mentioned.
Anirban Lahiri shot 70 and was 4 photographs again alongside James Hahn (72), a former champion of this occasion at its common dwelling, Quail Hole, which is taking this yr off as a result of it is internet hosting the Presidents Cup in September. Matt Fitzpatrick was 3 below after a 71.
“It looks like I’ve simply gone 12 rounds in a professional boxing match,” Lahiri mentioned. “You are combating every part. You are combating your physique, the weather, the water, the chilly, the situations. Yeah, it is powerful work and also you simply need to grit your tooth and type of grind it out.”