Keegan Bradley, who’s had a mercurial rise to stardom since winning the 2011 PGA Championship, started his second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship just two shots back of Tiger Woods, who fired a 6-under 66 in Thursday’s opener.
Thing is, Bradley’s best friend, Jon Curran, playing his first PGA Tour round in three years, did his high school teammate two strokes better while competing in the Puerto Rico Open.
The two New Englanders were vying for “low Hopkinton High honors,” according to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte, who has followed the recent journeys of the two 2004 Massachusetts state champions and Jupiter, Fla., roommates.
Bradley’s story is well-documented, from his Vermont roots to a victory in his first-ever major and beyond as the poster child for belly putters. Curran, in Bradley’s view, also belongs in the big leagues rather than the mini-tour circuit on which he’s been toiling.
Curran finished T7 in a Florida minor league game a week ago, according to Rosaforte, who noted that the Hopkinton native won medalist honors in the Monday qualifier to earn his start in Puerto Rico. Curran credited Bradley with offering some helpful hints prior to Thursday’s kick-off.
“Don’t make anything about it, pretend it’s a Hooters Tour event,” Bradley, who picked his pal to win this week’s tilt at Trump International, advised Curran, according to Rosaforte.
The sage advice must have worked, since Curran started the second round in a share of third, just one shot back of co-leaders Andres Romero and Cameron Percy. Early into the second act, Curran was tied for the lead at 8-under with two others, including another Massachusetts boy — Acushnet chief executive Wally Uihlein’s son, Peter.
“What Keegan told me completely sunk in,” Curran, who missed the cut in the 2010 U.S. Open, told Rosaforte. “Played like a round with the boys.”