PGA TourMarch 10, 2016

Keegan Bradley thanks Adam Scott for motivating him after strong opening round

PALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 10: Keegan Bradley putts on the sixth green during the first round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on March 10, 2016 in Palm Harbor, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Getty Images
PALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 10: Keegan Bradley putts on the sixth green during the first round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on March 10, 2016 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Keegan Bradley got out in front of the anchoring ban by replacing his belly putter for a regular putter at the end of 2014. The switch resulted in a 2015 campaign in which he made a career-low $1,565,079 thanks in large part to finishing just 127th in strokes gained/putting (Bradley had finished in the top 50 in that category the prior three seasons) on the PGA Tour.

Things got worse on the greens to start 2016. Entering this week's Valspar Championship, Bradley ranked a dismal 208th on tour in strokes gained/putting and had missed four of five cuts. But on Thursday, he showed signs that those growing pains might finally be coming to an end. Bradley fired an opening 67 at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, gaining nearly 2.4 strokes on the field with his putting and grabbing an early share of the lead.

Like everyone else, Bradley has been impressed by the recent play of Adam Scott, another golfer forced to change to a short putter with the anchoring ban taking effect on Jan. 1. And after his round, Bradley pointed to Scott's wins the past two weeks as being the source of inspiration.

"That got me motivated and made me feel good, so thanks, Adam," Bradley told reporters in Tampa.

Of course, a big difference between the two golfers is that Scott has had great success on the PGA Tour with a short putter in the past. Before switching to an anchored stroke in 2011, he finished first in strokes gained/putting in 2004, the same year he won twice, including the Players Championship. But shhhh. Maybe it's better not to tell Keegan that while he's rolling.

RANKING: The 13 best bets to win the Masters


WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS