Golf: Bradley secures great win despite putting blunder

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL BRADLEY made an astonishing error when he missed an eight- inch putt at the 11th hole, but recovered to win the Doral-Ryder Open by one stroke on Sunday.

Bradley's one-stroke victory gives him a top 50 place in the world rankings issued yesterday. A native of Florida, he jumps 18 places to 37th after winning only the second PGA Tour event of his career.

Bradley showed great poise after his potentially devastating miscue, finishing with a one-under-par 71 in strong winds on the Doral Resort's famous Blue Monster' course.

He sank his winning par putt from four feet at the final hole to finish at 10-under 278 - the highest winning score here since 1985.

John Huston, who closed with a 67, and Billy Mayfair (69) tied for second on 279. Tiger Woods compiled a final-round one-over 73, fading to a tie for ninth at 283 after finishing with a double-bogey, while Nick Faldo was 15 shots behind Bradley.

Bradley, who just last week was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his back, earned $360,000 (pounds 240,000) for his second PGA Tour victory, as well as an invitation to the Masters.

``After that putt on 11 I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I buckled down and hit some good irons coming in.'' said Bradley, 31.

"I was fortunate I hit a good drive on 12. That settled me down. I still don't know what happened [with the missed putt]. I did my normal routine, hit a couple of practice strokes. It was a 360-degree horseshoe.''

Bradley, who started the day with a two-stroke lead, rated his victory the biggest of his career. His previous win came at the 1996 Buick Challenge, which was shortened to 36 holes.

"A win is a win, but this is definitely more special, because it was 72 holes, the course was tough, the field strong and I had to do something special at the last hole.''