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From pressure putts to bunker brilliance: Tiger and co's 2018 highlights

China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-29 09:33
It was vintage Tiger Woods at this year's British Open. [Photo/Agencies]

Tiger Woods hit a shot he thought would lead to his 15th major. Keegan Bradley made a putt he thought would be worth a trip to the Tour Championship.

Just about every player has one shot that stands out above the rest in 2018.

"For how I viewed it at the time - this is in the moment - the shot I hit down 10 at The Open Championship out of that bunker," Woods said.

He was talking about the final round at Carnoustie, his ball in a fairway bunker with a burn between him and the green. Woods considered his pitching wedge one of those all-or-nothing moments. If it hits the lip of the bunker, he loses. If he pulls it off, he's going to win.

He pulled it off - and tied for sixth. No matter.

"There are moments in a tournament where you know this is the shot that's going to win or lose the event," he said. "Unfortunately, I didn't win it, but at the time to know it and pull it off, that gave me a lot of confidence going forward, to be honest with you."

Justin Thomas considered a pair of wedges before settling on a lob wedge on the 72nd hole at the Honda Classic that he hit to a foot for birdie that got him into a playoff. He holed a gap wedge for eagle on the 72nd hole in Mexico City that ultimately got him into a playoff, but Thomas wasn't in the last group. And he wound up losing in the playoff, anyway, so the nod goes to the Honda Classic.

Tony Finau says his top shot of 2018 was a 5-iron on the 17th hole in the final round at the Masters for his sixth consecutive birdie. This wasn't an ordinary birdie.

"I missed it in the right trees and it kicked back about 40 yards," he said. "I had a 190-yard shot and I had like a 60-to 70-yard slice, and I hit it to about three feet. I missed about a 12-footer on 18 to make seven birdies in a row (the Masters record). To be able to finish that way at Augusta was really cool, and that shot is the one that stuck out of all the birdies that I made."

As for Bradley?

He made a seven-foot par putt on the final hole on the Saturday of September's BMW Championship, and that meant everything. With so much rain in the forecast, it looked as though the tournament could be cut to 54 holes. The par putt meant Bradley was alone in sixth place, and with no more golf, that would give him enough points to finish in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup and get to East Lake. Miss it, and he would fall into a five-way tie for sixth.

"I knew in my head this was the last putt, and I had to make it to get into the Tour Championship," he said. "That was a good feeling when it went in."

Alas, the fourth round was played on the Monday. Bradley wound up winning for the first time in six years. He'll be on Maui next week for the Tournament of Champions.

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