herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Bradley craves 'Curtis luck' in Portrush

IT is not just the cliched 'luck of the Irish' that American Keegan Bradley is hoping for at Royal Portrush this week.

The USPGA champion plays his first tournament in Europe, 10 months after winning the very first major he played in.

The last person to do that was his compatriot Ben Curtis in the 2003 Open at Sandwich -- also the first experience he had had of links golf.

"What Ben Curtis did was pretty unbelievable, especially considering it was the Open Championship," said Bradley, who has Irish ancestry and is realising a lifetime's dream by competing here this week.

"I would love to have a little Ben Curtis luck this week.

"That would be great.

"Whenever we play a tournament we are all trying to win, but links golf is very different.

"You can hit a high driver or a low, stinging two iron and end up in the same spot.

"You think a lot more out here and it's a lot more unexpected. It's just a matter of adapting -- you're going to see some funky hops and you've got to be ready to accept it."

Briefest

Although it is the briefest of trips - he is back to playing in the States next week before returning for The Open at Royal Lytham a fortnight later - Bradley has been trying to pack in as much as he can.

"I've wanted to play (here) ever since I was a little kid and this year it worked out perfectly," he said.

"Maybe in the years to come I'll come a little earlier or stay a little later so I could have some time to experience the country a little more.

"But I've got to see a lot of the local tourist spots and I've just been having a blast.

"I wasn't sure how I was going to be accepted and everybody has just been so great. For them to say, Welcome home' is a pretty special feeling. It gives me chills."

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