Rory McIlroy’s putter fails him once again as Bradley prevails

Former USPGA champion won in a playoff as Justin Rose went to world number one

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his tee shot on the fourth hole during the weather-delayed final round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his tee shot on the fourth hole during the weather-delayed final round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

 

Regrets? He’ll have a few. Rory McIlroy’s ice cold putter proved to be his enemy as the weather-hit BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club outside Philadelphia produced a stunning playoff win for Keegan Bradley – a first on tour in six seasons for the former US PGA champion – over Justin Rose, who had the consolation of leapfrogging Dustin Johnson to become the new world number one.

Bradley (64) and Rose (67) were locked together on 20-under-par 260, finally separated in tie holes after the tournament – extended to a Monday finish due to the heavy rain in recent days – pushed the drama beyond regulation where the American defeated the Englishman at the first tie hole, a par to a bogey.

McIlroy, though, could only reflect on a missed opportunity. A closing round 68 left the Northern Irishman two shots outside of that playoff. But the statistics showed clearly how much he left behind him: he hit 17 greens in regulation and had a birdie putt on every hole, including one from the fringe. He made just two of them. Eight of his 13 birdie putts were inside 15 feet, and the one had made as an 11-inch tap-in. In a round where he was brilliant from tee-to-green, McIlroy took 32 putts. He has a week off to work on his putting before resuming tournament play at next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Tiger Woods, too, had a chance. He started the final round five shots off the lead and twice got within one shot, but two back-nine bogeys and four missed birdie putts inside 13 feet kept him at arm’s length. Woods shot a final round 65 for 263, three behind.

For Rose, the vanquished, there was at least the consolation of achieving a lifelong dream of reaching world number one. “That’s an amazing achievement, something I’m extraordinarily proud of . . . I’d love to go there by winning because obviously I want to get to number one by winning golf tournaments, but today was fun . . . . . it’s boyhood dreams,” said Rose, who became the fourth English player (following Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald) to reach the peak of the rankings.

“I thought I needed something around 62 to have a chance and I don’t think that would have been good enough. I might have needed a 61,” said Woods, who claimed he was delighted to reach personal targets of making the USA Ryder Cup team and also making it to the Tour Championship. “That was a pretty big goal at the beginning of the year and to be able to accomplish that is something I’m very proud of.”

Bradley’s last win on tour had been at the Northern Trust Open in 2012 but he ended the drought with some stellar play, although a bogey on the 18th in regulation left him requiring Rose to do the same for a playoff. He did. And then Bradley closed the deal at the first tie-hole – the 18th again – where Rose claimed to “under read” the par putt.

Bradley, who moved from 46th in the FedEx Cup standings up to sixth, shot the joint low round of the day – a 64, along with Billy Horschel – and knew exactly where he stood as he closed in on the fourth PGA Tour win of his career. “I don’t normally love to look at the leaderboard but, in this situation with so many guys (contending), I was watching all day. I felt really comfortable. This has been a long time coming, so I’m thrilled.”

Jordan Spieth’s bid to punch his ticket to the Tour Championship came up short, as he finished in 31st place on the FedEx Cup standings, one place too many. It means he misses the season-ending tournament for the first time in his career.

Final scores from the BMW Championship, Aronimink GC, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA unless stated, Irish in bold, par 70):

260 Keegan Bradley 66 64 66 64 (Won on first extra play-off hole), Justin Rose (Eng) 66 63 64 67

261 Xander Schauffele 63 64 67 67, Billy Horschel 64 67 66 64

262 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 62 69 63 68

263 Tiger Woods 62 70 66 65, Webb Simpson 66 67 65 65

264 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 70 63 64 67, Tony Finau 68 64 67 65, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 62 62 69, Rickie Fowler 65 65 65 69, 265 Kevin Na 70 62 67 66, Justin Thomas 64 67 66 68, Gary Woodland 66 66 66 67

266 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 66 64 67 69

267 Andrew Putnam 67 66 66 68, Aaron Wise 65 67 68 67, Bubba Watson 71 65 65 66

268 Brooks Koepka 69 68 65 66, Jason Kokrak 69 65 67 67, Bryson DeChambeau 67 70 64 67, Adam Hadwin (Can) 69 69 63 67, Patrick Reed 69 65 64 70

269 Jason Day (Aus) 67 64 68 70, Dustin Johnson 70 68 64 67, Alex Noren (Swe) 64 66 70 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 66 69 65 69, Charles Howell III 68 63 70 68

270 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 65 67 68 70, Austin Cook 71 67 63 69, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 69 68 69 64, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 69 67 68

271 Zach Johnson 68 68 68 67, Beau Hossler 67 67 68 69

272 Ted Potter, Jr. 68 64 67 73, Andrew Landry 68 70 66 68, Brice Garnett 70 67 67 68

273 Peter Uihlein 64 70 71 68, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 67 67 71 68, Chez Reavie 68 70 67 68

274 Chris Kirk 69 68 69 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 74 66 66 68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 70 68 70 66, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 71 68 66 69

275 Luke List 70 66 67 72, Kyle Stanley 67 70 65 73, Brian Gay 66 71 69 69, Scott Piercy 70 64 65 76, Keith Mitchell 67 67 67 74, J.J. Spaun 67 68 69 71

276 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 68 68 71, Adam Scott (Aus) 74 68 66 68, Ryan Armour 65 67 68 76, Ian Poulter (Eng) 68 70 67 71

277 Pat Perez 69 70 68 70, Patrick Cantlay 71 65 70 71, Jordan Spieth 67 71 66 73

278 Phil Mickelson 73 72 67 66, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 73 68 68 69, Kevin Kisner 72 67 69 70

279 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 67 70 71 71, Patton Kizzire 68 71 67 73, Chesson Hadley 69 69 71 70

280 Brendan Steele 74 69 69 68

282 Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 71 68 72, Ryan Palmer 70 69 70 73

283 Brandt Snedeker 71 69 71 72

292 Brian Harman 69 72 76 75

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