WILMINGTON, Del. — During Thursday’s opening round of the BMW Championship, it was hard to tell what was at stake if you watched the pairing of Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott.
Tension? Glares? Breaches of etiquette? Not that we could detect.
Sure, it may have helped that the pair, who both entered the week well outside the top-30 in the FedEx Cup standings and needed to make a move to get to next week’s Tour Championship, shot a better-ball 10-under 61, but it was clear they enjoyed playing with one other.
“It was really a fun day today playing with Adam,” Bradley said after his seven-under 64 to hold the early lead in the first round. “It’s always great playing with Adam, but we both were playing really well, hitting good shots, making putts.”
Both players were smiling and laughing coming down the 9th fairway of Wilmington Country Club’s South Course. Bradley’s second shot on the nearly 500-yard par-4 drew in toward the flag before rolling down a slope and settling 38 feet away. He drilled the putt, his sixth birdie of the day for a six-under 29 on his outward nine.
Not to be outdone, Scott, who’s second shot finished on the proper level of the green, about 16 feet above the hole, got his ball to drip over the edge of the cup to match Bradley. It was one of five holes the pairing both birdied.
“I think I was drafting off [Bradley],” Scott said after his six-under 65, which has him just one behind Bradley and one ahead of three players at five under: Harold Varner III, Justin Thomas and Shane Lowry. “He shot six-under the front and was running. Sometimes it’s good to see that and you can draft off each other, but also just to know that it’s really out there.
“I was really just trying to follow his lead.”
Scott followed the lead of the 2018 BMW Championship winner from Aronimink, just 18 miles from Wilmington, and even beat him on the back nine. He posted three inward birdies to Bradley’s two.
Both players need good performances this week to move on in the FedEx Cup Playoffs:Bradley can finish no worse than 28th and Scott 23rd to advance to East Lake and the Tour Championship next week.
“I never look to see what I have to do because whether I play in this tournament or Sony or any tournament, I always want to do the best I can, whether it’s 35th instead of 36th or first, whatever it is,” Bradley said. “I never feel like that helps me, I feel like it hurts me actually. But this is a good start, obviously.”
The pair goes off in Friday’s second round at 1:05 p.m..