PGA Tour

Bradley grabs lead at rain-hit Wells Fargo Championship

American golfer Keegan Bradley (AFP)
American golfer Keegan Bradley (AFP)
Gregory Shamus /Getty Images via AFP

Keegan Bradley grinded out a three-under par 67 to seize a two-stroke lead after Saturday's rain-soaked third round of the PGA Wells Fargo Championship.

The 35-year-old American fired the low round of a miserable day to stand on eight-under 202 after 54 holes on soggy TPC Potomac at Avenel in suburban Washington.

American Max Homa was second on 204 after a 71 while India's Anirban Lahiri and American James Hahn shared third on 206 with England's Matthew Fitzpatrick fifth in 207.

More than 2 1/2 inches of rain fell upon the course since Wednesday with cold and windy conditions as well on Saturday requiring gritty play in miserable weather.

Bradley had the day's low round and was among only four players to crack par in the third round, matching the fewest in any round this season with the final round in March at Bay Hill.

"It was miserable," Bradley said. "But I grew up playing in this weather, so it was fun. But I am so glad to be done."

Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner in his major debut, was excited about how he played in brutal conditions.

"Every shot is different than you hit normally," he said. "I hit 7-iron from 140 today. I'm also really happy with my putting.

"To go out and stay strong in this weather, it was daunting in the beginning. I was thinking I've got a long way to go here. But I'm proud of the way I played."

Bradley, ranked 64th, seeks his fifth US PGA triumph, his first since taking the 2018 BMW Championship in a playoff over England's Justin Rose.

He said the tough conditions could be an advantage if they keep him from thinking about the fact that he hasn't won in nearly four years.

"You’re so worried about keeping everything dry," he said. "I'm just trying to get to the next shot."

Lahiri, ranked 85th, seeks his first PGA victory and first victory since the 2015 Indian Open on the European Tour.

"It feels like I've just gone 12 rounds in a pro boxing match," said Lahiri. "You're fighting everything, you're fighting your body, the elements, the water, the cold, the conditions.

"It's tough work and you just have to grit your teeth and grind it out."

The course has its first PGA event since 2018 because Quail Hollow, the regular Wells Fargo course in Charlotte, will host the Presidents Cup in September.

Australia's Jason Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner who began the round with a three-stroke lead, found a bunker at the par-3 third and needed a putt from just outside eight feet to save bogey, then found water off the fourth tee on the way to a triple-bogey seven that left him co-leader with Homa, who bogeyed the fourth.

At the par-4 fifth, Day sent another tee shot into the water on his way to bogey while Homa sank a four-foot birdie putt to grab a two-stroke lead at 7-under.

Day stumbled back with a bogey at the par-3 ninth and double bogey at the par-5 10th on his way to a 79 to stand on 209.

"I just didn't have my stuff," Day said. "I made a lot of errors out there and hitting into penalty areas. I've just got to get back to it tomorrow and try and find some positives."

Lahiri, runner-up at the Players Championship in March, sank a birdie putt from just inside 24 feet at the par-4 eighth and followed with a 16-foot birdie putt at the par-3 ninth to make the turn in second at 6-under.

Lahiri missed the green at the par-3 12th and made bogey to fall back.

But Bradley holed a 21-foot birdie putt at 11 then dropped his tee shot just inside three feet and birdied the par-3 12th to match Homa for the lead at 7-under.

Homa fell back with bogeys at 11 and 12 while Lahiri went birdie-bogey at 14 and 15, leaving Bradley with a two-stroke edge.

Homa tapped in for birdie at 14 but Bradley made a birdie putt from just inside 10 feet at the par-4 16th to maintain his margin.

Four-time major winner and defending champion Rory McIlroy, who made the cut on the number at level par, shot 68, second-low round on the day despite a bogey-bogey start, and shared sixth on 208.

"I can't be too disappointed," he said. "Two-under out there was a very good score."

Leading scores after Saturday's third round of the PGA Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel (USA unless noted, par-70):

202 - Keegan Bradley 70-65-67

204 - Max Homa 67-66-71

206 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 68-68-70, James Hahn 66-68-72

207 - Matt Fitzpatrick (ENG) 68-68-71

208 - Cameron Young 68-71-69, Matthew Wolff 65-73-70, Chad Ramey 69-66-73, Brian Harman 69-66-73, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67-73-68, Denny McCarthy 65-69-74, Luke List 68-66-74

209 - Kim Si-woo (KOR) 67-72-70, CT Pan (TPE) 68-71-70, Lee Kyoung-hoon (KOR) 66-73-70, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 68-69-72, Nick Taylor (CAN) 67-73-69, Jason Day (AUS) 63-67-79

210 - Lanto Griffin 70-68-71, Turk Petit 67-72-71, Adam Schenk 69-68-73, Kurt Kitayama 67-67-76, Corey Conners (CAN) 69-71-70

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