Big East News Articles
Story Courtesy www.redstormsports.com
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Oct. 31, 2010) — St. John’s men’s golf alum Keegan Bradley achieved a lifelong dream on Sunday when he received his PGA TOUR card at the conclusion of the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island. After competing in 28 grueling events around the country, Bradley finished in the Top 25 on the Nationwide Tour’s season money list to earn his spot on golf’s most prestigious tour.
“But it’s just been unbelievable,” Bradley said in a phone interview last week after essentially locking up his PGA TOUR card before the Nationwide Tour Championship. “I still can’t believe it to be honest with you.”
Bradley, who starred at St. John’s from 2004-08, finished 14th on the money list and totaled $264,760 in winnings on the Nationwide Tour this season. He finished in the top 25 seven times, including five top-5 showings.
“It’s super rewarding because I’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Bradley said. “It’s really cool to sit back and think that I’ve had such a great year. To finish in the Top 25 on the Nationwide money list, you have to be very consistent throughout the entire year. It’s just cool to be playing against these guys that are all so good and to know that I’m as good as them or better. It’s been so much fun. It’s the most rewarding thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Bradley, the first former St. John’s golfer to receive fully-exempt status on the PGA TOUR, endured a long journey en route to earning his PGA TOUR card. At this time last year, Bradley was wrapping up a successful season on the NGA Hooters Pro Golf Tour’s Winter Series. He and fellow STJ alum Andrew Svoboda, who finished 46th on the Nationwide Tour money list to earn a spot in the Finals of the 2010 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament and fully-exempt status on the 2011 Nationwide Tour, gutted out the three qualifying stages of PGA Q-School in the fall of 2009 to earn their spots on the Nationwide Tour. Bradley missed the cut to earn his PGA TOUR card last year in Q-School by just two strokes. He believes that a full season on the Nationwide Tour under his belt will be invaluable to him when the 2011 PGA TOUR season begins.
“There is no other tour that could’ve prepared me better for what I am going to be going through next year,” he said. “This year out here, it is very similar. The money on the PGA TOUR is times 10. There are bigger galleries. Everything is just kind of magnified times 10. I think that with this Nationwide Tour, thank God that I got a year out here to be able to have experience going into next year. It is truly the way to prepare for the PGA Tour.”
After just one top-25 showing in his first 13 Nationwide Tour events, Bradley caught fire in July when he posted his best finish — a second-place showing in the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic Presented by Samsung on July 11 when he carded a 66-61-70-65—262 (-23) and banked $86,410.69. Bradley, 24, enjoyed an impressive four-tournament stretch in September and October in which he posted four consecutive top-5 finishes.
“I think I just became more and more comfortable with my surroundings and the tour and the tour life,” he said. “I started to relax a little bit. Pretty much every tournament at the beginning of the year was life or death for me, which is not the way to play. I’ve just been much more relaxed and in a better state of mind and I think I’ve just kind of settled in.”
The Woodstock, Vt., native is proud of his Northeast and St. John’s roots and holds that Northeast golfers can compete with the best on golf’s highest levels.
“I’d like to tell all of the junior golfers from the Northeast and New England not to go south,” Bradley said. “I think you just need to work as hard as you can, have a good attitude about it and be disciplined. Sometimes you are going to have to make sacrifices in order to get better. If that means not hanging out with your buddies, that’s what you have to do. I think I’ve done that and St. John’s University was so good for me. My best friends are still the guys I played with on that St. John’s team. I still talk to Coach Frank Darby at least once a week, sometimes more.”
Bradley, who earned a sport management degree from St. John’s in 2008, is also proud of the fact that he and fellow Red Storm alums such as Svoboda and Joe Saladino are representing the school on golf’s big stages.
“I think it says a lot about Coach Darby,” Bradley said. “He has a knack for recruiting and bringing in players who will succeed and get better. I think it just shows that the boys from St. John’s can play. I think the winters and the great courses in Long Island are good. I think that it toughens you up. All the guys from St. John’s, we’re all kind of the same. We’re all really hardworking guys that have not had a lot given to us. We had to earn what we make and work as hard as we can. I think we all have that in common, every single one of us. I think that’s why we do succeed.”