Keegan Bradley has had his eye on the Travelers Championship for a long time. As a youngster growing up in Woodstock, Vermont, this tournament was the first PGA Tour event he saw in person.
Once, he became a professional, this was the tournament he wanted to win – excluding major tournaments, of course.
This weekend, Bradley had a tournament-leading 27 birdies and built a six-stroke lead early on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell with a tournament record total of 257, 23 strokes under par.
Bradley raced out of the gate early and had a six-stroke lead the 12th hole with six holes remaining. Three bogeys in the final six holes brought him a bit closer to second place finisher Zac Blair but this was Bradley’s tournament.
“It’s an event my first handful of years on tour I really struggled at, because the pressure of wanting to play well for wow family and the local community was too much. I had to learn how to do it,” Bradley said.
“Other than the majors and those type of tournaments, this was always the top of my list. What a special thing to be the winner of this tournament,” he said.
He got to celebrate his victory with two sons and his wife, Jillian, on the 18th hole.
“Winning before family versus winning after family doesn’t even compare,” he said. “Winning a tournament with your family is the greatest feeling because they put up with a lot of nonsense I would say of my traveling, missing first days of school, or my wife being alone all the time when I’m on the road.
“For them to be able to feel the excitement of this and be here and feel it, I can’t put a price on that. It’s just the greatest feeling,” Bradley said.
Bradley went to high school in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and has a home today in Massachusetts. He is proud to be a New England raised golfer and a six-time winner on the PGA Tour.
“This is for all the kids like me that grew up in winters and can’t play and would watch the kids from Florida and down south get better and compete and get invited to the biggest tournaments in the country that I was never invited to,” he said.
“And I hope that they know that they can come from this area. From where I grew up this is like the south down here. They can come from this area and still make it in golf. If you put your time in and work when you can and enjoy the game, I hope they can see they can do that,” Bradley said.
Bradley enjoyed the support on the course from the fans, who have a reputation for vocal support, even early in the morning for those 8 a.m. tee times.
“I dreamt my whole life of playing in Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, and it feel pretty close to what that would feel like,“ he said. “You know, I had a bunch of people say they’ve never heard the 18th hole sound like that.
“It was just so fun to have a three-shot lead where I could enjoy it and mess up a little bit and still win. I could let my guard down a little bit,” Bradley said. “You know, I’ve never been able to do that in my six wins. I’m so thankful for the fans. I’m so honored to be their winner.”
Bradley’s previous best finish at the Travelers was second place in 2019.
2023 Travelers Championship leaderboard
|Min Woo Lee||-17||66||65||65||67||263|