Bradley wins the Zozo championship to end the four-year title drought

Keegan Bradley clinched his first US PGA Tour title in four years on Sunday after retiring late to win the Zozo Championship in Japan.

Bradley, whose only big win came at the 2011 PGA Championship, started the first day by pulling behind fellow American Rickie Fowler, but leapt to the lead after making two consecutive birdies on the sixth and seventh holes.

Two bogeys on back nine allowed Fowler and fellow playmate Andrew Putnam to get back in contention, but another birdie gave Bradley a two-stroke lead as he headed for the last hole.

The 36-year-old finished with a draw to claim his first US PGA Tour title from the BMW championship in Philadelphia in September 2018.

“I’ve really worked hard this off season and that’s what I want to do: I want to win tournaments, I want to play in the Ryder Cups and I want to be in the conversation,” said Bradley. “This is a good start.”

Bradley finished 15 under par out of 265 at Narashino Country Club, a shot ahead of Fowler and Putnam.

Fowler was looking to end his title drought, going back three and a half years to the 2019 Phoenix Open.

He hit two birdies and two bogeys in a par 70 level final round.

Reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama finished a frustrating week with a 71 to finish three-under in a 40th-place draw.

Japan’s only male big winner was followed by thousands of fans throughout the week, but was never in contention for the title.

“I was looking to win the title and nothing else, so there’s nothing I can really take from this week – it’s disappointing,” he said.

Matsuyama gave the fans something to cheer with a closing birdie on the 18th hole.

“I thought ‘finally, my touch and my line came together the way I wanted,'” she said.

“There were a lot of people in the gallery there, so I’m glad I managed to score a bird for them.”

Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele made his best round of the week, carding a 65 to finish tied for ninth place at 10-under par 270.

© 2022 AFP