At the US Open, Keegan Bradley lives his sporting dream in Boston

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – In crisp, whipping air that sounded like October, there was a kind of October sound, sounding Saturday shortly after 6 p.m.

He celebrated the home team of the 122nd US Open, this guy from Vermont who raced on this course in the famous 1999 Ryder Cup at the age of 13 and has a clear memory of having looked in the under -floor of the house with dad when Adam Vinatieri’s kick whistled in New York. Orleans 21 February ago.

He exploded from the stand on the No. 18 as if from another raucous sport. It happened as Keegan Bradley came in close to complete his ruthless round in the middle of all the other ruthless rounds except Bradley’s brutal round gave a 69 that put him in contention at 2 under par. .

Maybe Bostonians didn’t know that Bradley won his first major, the 2011 PGA Championship in Atlanta, and has appeared in 35 majors since, with two more top 10s. that they knew but did not remember. Maybe some knew but didn’t remember because maybe they drank something that scrambles the memory bank.

It didn’t matter. It has become a moment in the life of a 36-year-old companion.

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“Honestly,” Bradley said, “it was one of the most amazing times of my entire life. I got to feel what it’s like to play at Fenway, to play in the Garden, to play at Gillette Stadium. I felt like a Boston player there.

Could he elaborate? Why, of course he could.

“As a child, I dreamed of playing in front of Boston fans and being a Patriot or being in the Garden,” he said. “Most of the time I play around the world or the country and I’m alone, and once in a while I’m in Hartford [at the tour stop there] and I feel like that or in a Ryder Cup. Here today I felt like I was in a home game, which is something that as a kid is a dream come true.

Their cheers mattered, as it happened. They counted halfway through the ruckus on No. 18, when Bradley rang an 11-foot putt on No. 9 for one of his five birdies that accompanied his four bogeys and nine pars. The crowd “went mad at me” as they approached the green, he said, “and then I made the putt, and they went mad.”

It made him feel something rare: “a jolt of energy” from an audience. “It put me on the path to, ‘Okay, we’re not trying to save this round anymore. Let’s compete here,” and I did.

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His front nine had ended with a dismal 36. His back nine had ended with a hopeful 33. And there he is, at 70-69-69, just three shots off the lead heading into Sunday.

It’s been a week, whatever. This provided him with another rarity, an urge to peer into crowds. “Once in a while I look,” he said, “and I see an aunt or an uncle or a friend, and it’s really, really fun.” (His aunts include World Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, an early inspiration.) He enjoyed walking past a twisted tree every day at No. 18 because that’s where his father stood during that Ryder Cup so Keegan can find it. after rushing to join the American celebration.

Now, number 18 had given him something quite different: a great sound and a hell of a memory.