Bradley gets form in the Bank
Keegan Bradley boosted his Ryder Cup prospects as he carded an opening round of 68 at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The 28-year-old American, who is hoping to be selected as one of three wildcard picks by US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson next week, took advantage of ideal scoring conditions as he fired a flawless six-under-par 65 at the TPC Boston.
Bradley picked up four shots in his first seven holes to reach the turn in four-under 32, then strung together seven successive pars before rolling in birdie putts from 15 feet at the 17th and from 11 feet at the 18th to finish in style.
His efforts left him on top of the leaderboard when he came off the course, though compatriot Ryan Palmer later took over at the summit thanks to a score of 63.
"Making those putts was key, but I drove the ball really, really well and out here you really need to drive the ball long and straight, and I did that today," said Bradley.
A three-time winner on the PGA Tour who clinched his first major title at the 2011 PGA Championship, Bradley admits getting a spot on his second US Ryder Cup team is a top priority for him.
"I am dreaming about it," he said after giving Watson a timely reminder of his talents.
"When I wake up, I am thinking about it. When I'm on the course, I am thinking about it. I've just made the decision that it's going to come up and I'm not going to try to block it out.
"I'm just going to try and embrace it and be aware of those thoughts. The more I try not to think about it, the more it comes in. I am just embracing it and today felt good."
Palmer's only blemish came at the par-four 10th; he made amends with a spectacular finish that saw him end his first round at the second of the PGA Tour's four FedExCup playoff events with four successive birdies.
Australian Jason Day joined American duo Webb Simpson and Chesson Hadley on five under, one ahead of a group of five players that includes compatriots Jordan Speith and Bill Haas.
There are also a trio of Europeans on four under, Ryder Cup hopeful Ian Poulter one of them after a see-saw 67 that ended with the Englishman getting birdies at four of his final five holes.
Luke Donald, another player hoping to be in Paul McGinley's European squad for Gleneagles, is on two under, while Rory McIlroy cooled off after a red-hot start to sign for a 70. The Northern Irishman, second in the standings behind Hunter Mahan, stumbled home with three bogeys in his last five holes to end up seven shots off the pace.