AKRON, Ohio — Keegan Bradley only wanted a chance to get into a playoff Sunday at Firestone. All it took was a clutch par, along with a stunning collapse by Jim Furyk, for Bradley to win the Bridgestone Invitational and wrap up a spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Bradley closed with a 6-under 64, and the final stroke was the most important — a 15-foot putt to save par from a plugged lie in the bunker.
Furyk, who led for 71 holes and looked solid throughout the final round, chopped up the 18th hole for a double bogey to throw away a chance at his first win since the 2010 Tour Championship. He missed the green from the fairway. His chip with one foot in the sand barely cleared the bunker and stayed in the thick collar. He hit a weak chip to 5 feet, and his bogey putt never had a chance.
Furyk dropped his putter when the ball left his blade. He went from what appeared to be a certain win to a 69 and a tie for second with Steve Stricker, who made four birdies on his last five holes for a 64.
Bradley won for the first time since last year in PGA Championship, and now goes to Kiawah Island to defend his title with a lot more confidence.
Bradley finished at 13-under 267. He has three wins in two years on the PGA Tour, including a major and a World Golf Championship.
It was an important performance for Stricker, who moved up three spots to No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings. Furyk is No. 11, followed by Rickie Fowler at No. 12. Bradley moved to No. 4, and bumped out Hunter Mahan from the top eight for automatic spots after the PGA Championship next week.
Tiger Woods played bogey-free for a 66, his lowest score since a 65 in the second round at Bay Hill at the end of March. He was never in the tournament, 11 shots behind going into the final round, though he picked up the tiniest of consolations. He now has back-to-back finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour for the first time in nearly three years. And he at least heads to Kiawah Island feeling good about his game.
3M CHAMPIONSHIP: Bernhard Langer rallied to win the 3M Championship for the second time in four years, shooting a 10-under 62 to overcome a six-stroke deficit at Blaine, Minn.
The 54-year-old German finished at 18-under 198 at the TPC Twin Cities for his 15th Champions Tour title. He ended a 24-event victory drought, his longest on the 50-and-over tour.
David Peoples, three strokes ahead entering the final round, had it on cruise control much of the day and shot a 70 to finish second — two shots behind. The runner-up finish is his best in 51 starts on the tour.
Kenny Perry and Olin Browne tied for third at 15 under. Perry had a 64, and Browne shot 66.
Langer, also the 2009 event champion, was 5 under on the front nine, added birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 to get within two shots of the lead, and birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to tie Peoples at 17 under.
Moments after Peoples bogeyed No. 16, Langer put his 218-yard approach within 7 feet on the par-5 18th to set up a clinching birdie. It was the largest final-round comeback in the history of the tournament.
COX CLASSIC: Ben Kohles won his second straight Web.com Tour title since turning professional, closing with an 8-under 62 for a three-stroke victory in the Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb.
The 22-year-old former University of Virginia player won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational last week in a playoff in Columbus, Ohio, in his first professional start. He was the first player to win a Web.com title in his pro debut, and is the first to win in his first two tour starts.
Kohles also wrapped up a 2013 PGA Tour card from the Web.com money list, and moved within a victory of an immediate PGA Tour promotion. He earned $117,000 to move into second place on the money list with $261,000, more than enough to finish in the final top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card.
Kohles finished at 24-under 260 at Champions Run.
South Africa’s Dawie van der Walt had a 60 to finish second. He had a chance for the second 59 in tournament history, but missed an 8-footer for eagle on No. 17 and a 6-footer for birdie on 18. Jason Gore shot a 59 in the second round in his 2005 victory.