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‘I’ll remember him for the rest of my life’: Despite finishing seventh, Keegan Bradley felt like a hometown hero at the US Open

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BROOKLINE – A round that sent him to his hands and knees ended with his fists up.

Keegan Bradley battled his putter on Sunday at the US Open, ending his chase for the trophy. But after capping off a seventh-place 71 in the final round, he waved to a crowd that supported him all the way.

They shouted cheers for him wherever he went at The Country Club, often simply calling out to his various New England associations, “802!” for his hometown of Woodstock, Vt., “Hillers!” for his college days at Hopkinton High, “Go Sox!” for his unconditional support of the Boston teams, which he wore over his sneakers.

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The gallery saved the most significant tributes for last. Hundreds around the 18th hole showered him with more “Kee-gan! Kee-gan! thunder as he walked onto the green. This was the week Bradley felt like a Boston sports hero.

“Man, I will remember him for the rest of my life,” he said. “It was really special. I’m happy my family was here to see that, and it was just amazing.”

Bradley, flanked by his 4-year-old son, Logan, during a post-round interview, was attended by family, friends and high school teammates. Bradley and his family live in Jupiter, Florida, but plan to spend the summer here, Bradley mainly being a father.

“There’s a part of me that’s still happy it’s over,” Bradley said. “I’m tired. That week. I had the best time. I am very grateful for the fans of New England and Boston. I am proud of the way I played. I wish I had kicked a little better today, but that’s the way it is.”

Starting tied for fourth (2 under par), Bradley fell off the leaderboard after bogeying his first three holes. Rolling greens plagued him, his putter failed him early.

Bradley is more deliberate than most in lining up his short shots. He spreads out on both sides of his line. He studies his index finger to read the rest. He is not a fast worker. At times, he may have felt that he was prolonging the agony.

He was in the sand at No. 1, but gave himself birdie opportunities at 2 and 3. He rolled every one of his putts over the rim of the cup.

That was in line with his starts earlier in the week. Bradley started 3 times on each of the previous two days. On Friday he finished with six birdies in the last 12 holes. On Saturday he saw him score five birdies in that stretch. On Sunday he birdied numbers 7, 8, 11 and 17, but couldn’t keep up with the lead pack.

“I had bad starts the last three days in a row, like horrible, horrible starts, and I struggled to get back on my feet,” Bradley said. “I told my caddy, I think it was the 12th hole, I have to try to really enjoy this inning. she did what.”

Keegan Bradley finished seventh overall.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

He was muttering to himself on the 14th, after missing a 22-foot birdie, but he delivered a dozen punches to the crowd en route to the par-4 15th. There, he sank to all fours after sending his approach to the bunker. He loaded a bogey.

He returned to the top 10 with that birdie on the 17th, returning to 1 under total. He could have finished in the top five if he had made a 24-footer on the 18th, but he finished with a par. His 70-69-69-71 earned him a prize of $515,934. Adam Hadwin and Denny McCarthy also tied for seventh place.

Bradley, ranked 47th in the world, posted his second best finish at the US Open, following his T-4 at Pinehurst in 2014. He did not play the tournament last year, after making four cuts in five years. His last result at the US Open was T-60 at Erin Hills in 2017.

He’s still looking for his second major, 11 years after his 2011 PGA Championship win. Clearly, he’d love another chance to win some hardware at Brookline.

“I think it is one of the best golf courses in the world, and probably along with the best sports fans in the world. Combine those two, and you get this here,” he said. “The Country Club is spectacular. I loved. It’s my favorite US Open venue I’ve ever played. Every time you play a tournament in Boston, it’s electric. The fans are the best.”

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Matt Porter can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.

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