WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — As a relatively new homeowner at The Greenbrier resort, Keegan Bradley picked a heck of a tour guide the weekend before A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
Bubba Watson, a longtime homeowner on the property, paired up with Bradley and they played a couple of rounds one week ahead of the PGA Tour stop on the Old White TPC golf course. As luck would have it, they got to do it all over again Saturday in the third round of the tournament.
The pairing worked out well for both as Watson surged up the leaderboard with a 5-under-par 65, leaving him at 11-under for the tournament in a tie for sixth place, three shots behind leaders Kelly Kraft and Harold Varner III. Bradley isn't far behind as he overcame a double-bogey on the par-3 15th hole to card a 3-under 67. He will enter Sunday's final round at 9 under in a tie for 10th, five shots off the lead.
For Bradley, this is the first tournament held in White Sulphur Springs when he could call the Old White TPC his home course. So far, he's in position for, at worst, a solid finish.
"It's great," Bradley said. "It's funny to kind of sit up at my house and look down at the course I'm going to play, and then while I'm playing, looking up and seeing my house. I love it here. Hopefully, I'm going to be here for a while and enjoy my time here.
"As I live here, I'll play (the Old White TPC) more, but I haven't played it a ton outside of the tournament."
This is Bradley's sixth start in the formerly named Greenbrier Classic and he's made the cut all six times, finishing no worse than a tie for 50th (last year). He tied for fourth in 2014, representing his best showing at The Greenbrier.
As Watson tells it, Bradley is already guilty of breaking a rule or two early in his residency.
But with clearance from resort owner West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, the duo will likely avoid repercussions.
"We snuck out last week," Watson said. "He moved in not quite two weeks ago to his new house and so we snuck out and played the Old White when no one was allowed to play. That's the benefit of knowing Governor Jim."
Exactly what Watson tutored Bradley on will remain between them, but judging by how well Watson played Saturday he might have held back a little bit. Watson said the pairing was enjoyable, but maybe a little more so for him.
"I could talk him through it, tell him some things that I know and some things he knew, and so it was fun," Watson said. "Then today was really fun. Now, obviously I beat him, so he didn't have as much fun as I did, but there's always tomorrow."
Both are major winners, Watson winning the Masters in 2012 and 2014 and Bradley the 2011 PGA Championship. Both also entered the week riding good seasons, especially Watson, who is third on the FedEx-Cup points list and has three wins already this season, tops on the PGA Tour.
Bradley is in solid shape at 51st on the points list and has three top-10 finishes and 15 made cuts in 19 events this season. That includes a second place at the CIMB Classic in October 2017.
With Saturday's round, Watson put himself in prime position to chase win number four, and admitted doing it in White Sulphur Springs would be extra special. He even went as far as to call himself a "local boy" in a post-round news conference.
Perhaps someday soon, Bradley will also be able to identify himself as such. A win would sure help, and though he's a little further behind than Watson, back-to-back birdies after the big miscue on 15 were a big momentum boost heading into Sunday.
"That was big, because I'd played well all day and then had that stupid bogey on 15," Bradley said. "I was proud of the way I made those birdies, for sure.
"I don't know. (Sunday) depends on what goes on out here, but the course is playing a lot more difficult today, it's firmer and dryer, so anything in the 60s is a good score."