Michael Bradley marked the ball, set it back down, stroked it and then stood stunned on the 11th green at the Doral-Ryder Open as the 8-inch putt spun around the cup and stayed out.
"I still don't know what happened," Bradley said Sunday after he somehow managed to regroup following one of the shortest missed putts ever on the PGA Tour.Shorter ones have been missed, perhaps, but only through carelessness.
"I went through my routine," Bradley said. "I was trying, but it did a 360-degree horseshoe."
Amazingly, on another wind-blown day at the Blue Monster, it was Bradley's only bogey as he closed with a 71 to finish at 10-under-par 278, one stroke better than John Huston and Billy Mayfair.
It was Bradley's second career victory. Huston, whose 67 was bettered by no one in the last round, was trying for his second victory this year.
"You have to give Michael credit," Huston said. "He hung in there."
Mayfair, who defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff last week, was trying for his second victory in a row after going more than two years without a win.
But a bogey on the 17th hole when he missed a 31/2-foot putt did in Mayfair despite closing with a very strong 69.
"I gave myself a great chance to win," Mayfair said. "I'm proud of the fact that I won last week and came back this week and nearly won."
Vijay Singh, Stewart Cink and Mike Brisky finished at 281, three strokes back, and Davis Love III - who matched Huston's closing 67 - and Scott Hoch were at 282.
Woods, who started the day three strokes behind Bradley, didn't get his game in gear until it was too late, managing to have only two birdie putts inside 35 feet on the front nine and playing the four par-5s on the first 12 holes at the Blue Monster one-over.
But he made a run at the leaders down the stretch, making birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 to get to seven-under before closing with a double bogey on the final hole when he hit into the water.
Woods, who closed with a 73 and finished at 283, added a ninth-place finish to the two seconds and a third he has on the PGA Tour this year.
It was truly astounding that Bradley managed to right himself after missing the tap-in.
"That little putt on No. 11 really shocked me," he said. "I just told myself I had to regroup and try to make some birdies coming down the stretch."
He said a key was driving into the fairway on No. 12.
"That calmed me down," Bradley said. "That's a tough drive."
Bradley got the birdie he needed coming in on No. 16 when he made a 10-footer to get to 10-under. His only other birdie came on the downwind par-5 first hole.
The most exacting test of Bradley's mended nerves came on the dangerous 18th hole, when he drove perfectly then played a 6-iron from 169 yards to the safe right side of the green - away from the water.
"I was thinking just don't miss it left," he said. "I wanted nothing to do with that pin."
The ball barely cleared the bunker on the right side and settled on the fringe with a chip toward the water. He chipped with a 7-iron to 5 feet and rolled in the putt to make the winning par.
"I didn't realize how hard that chip was until I got up there," Bradley said. "I looked at it and thought I could chip it into the water."
Instead he chipped it close and got the victory.
Mayfair knocked in a pair of 20-foot birdie putts on the middle three holes of the back nine, to get to 10-under, but couldn't stay there.
He made a great up-and-down on the final hole just to save par.
Huston made three birdies on the first four holes of the back nine to get to 10-under, but gave it back when he missed a 2-footer on No. 14. He also scrambled to save par on the final hole and never had a chance to make a birdie.
Allen wins Nike event
AUSTIN, Texas - Michael Allen won the battle of survival Sunday at the $225,000 Greater Austin Open, taking a two-shot victory over Gene Sauers and Chris Zambri under horrific scoring conditions.
Golfers were faced with winds at The Hills Country Club that reached 40 mph and a chill factor which dropped to 22 degrees. No golfers were able to break par-72 on the final day after 29 had achieved that on Saturday. The low score of the day was 2-over by four golfers. The average score was 78.50
Casey Martin, involved in a well-chronicled dispute with the PGA Tour over the use of a cart he says in necessary because of a debilitating leg problem, shot a 78 to tie for 16th place and earn $3,031. He again rode in a cart for the Nike event.
Allen's winning total of 76-280 was the second highest in Nike Tour history. He collected $40,500 for his victory, his first on the Nike or PGA Tour.
"I've never seen conditions like this," said Allen, who spent a couple of years playing in Europe. "In Scotland or Ireland you play through rain, but I've never seen it this consistently cold."
Allen shot 39 on the front nine of The Hills Country Club, but was still able to pick up ground on the rest of the field. He bogeyed holes 12-13, then rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt on the last hole to pad his victory margin.
"This is really a last shot deal for me on the Nike Tour this year," Allen said. "On the PGA, if you win you're set, but not here. I'm really focused on the Nike Tour this year."
He spent six years on the PGA Tour before losing his playing card. He was working as a club pro before former U.S. Open champion and television commentator Ken Venturi helped him with his game.
"I have been working out and was mentally strong," Allen said. "I was still ready to go at the finish."
Sauers, who was tied for the lead after the third round, shot a 78-212 while Zambri shot 77-212.