<
>

Bradley overcomes penalty in Round 1

Keegan Bradley started his opening round at TPC Scottsdale with a par. It turned into a double-bogey when he was assessed a 2-stroke penalty for having an extra club in his bag. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Even though it took Keegan Bradley just two holes to start making up the 2-stroke penalty he was assessed on his first hole Thursday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he couldn't stop thinking about it throughout his round.

Bradley was penalized for having 15 clubs in his bag, one more than allowed. He was carrying a 3-iron and a hybrid, whereas he usually only carries one or the other. He rebounded from the penalty to shoot 3-under-par 68 in Round 1.

"Pretty ridiculous that we let that happen," Bradley said. "It was sickening at the time. It was really great to come back and play well the rest of the way."

Two holes after the penalty was tacked on to what would have been a par on No. 1, Bradley started a streak of birdies every other hole. By the time he made the turn, he was 2 under. He added two more on the back nine, but that was offset by a bogey.

"I tried not to let that start get me frazzled," he said. "I played really solid the rest of the way. It was really fun to make a few putts."

After the penalty, Bradley set out to make up those strikes as fast as he could.

He sunk an 18-foot putt for par on No. 2 and then birdied No. 3.

"I was determined to not let it bother me," he said. "I was determined to be stronger than that. Sometimes that can kind of give you a little kick and get you to play well."

Easier said than done.

"It's really, really difficult because ... it's hard to explain," he said. "You're basically handing over 2 shots. I just tried to pretend like it never happened. It crept in my mind while I was out there playing, but I was able to catch it and let it go."

Not thinking about it helped Bradley, who sits 3 strokes off the lead shared by Rickie Fowler, Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama. Take away the penalty and Bradley would be sitting in second place heading into the second round. He went 5 under after the first hole.

"I wish I had those 2 shots backs," he said. "I'd be closer to the lead.

"Sometimes things happen for a reason, so maybe that's going to get me going tomorrow."