Work ethic and focus take Purdue’s Cole Bradley to NCAA Men’s Golf Championships
LAFAYETTE WEST – The best shot during Dave Schneider’s legendary career as Harrison’s golf coach?
Don’t cut Cole Bradley in freshman.
“My smartest move ever,” Schneider said with a laugh.
This is the same Cole Bradley who won the sophomore IHSAA State Championship for the Raiders in 2015, a year after trying for the team. The same Cole Bradley won NCAA Regional from last week at Sagamore Golf Club in Noblesville, after sitting in 17th place after the first lap.
And that’s the same Cole Bradley who will compete in the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in North Scottsdale, Arizona starting Friday. The Senior Purdue is one of six individual qualifiers and 156 golfers in total who are aiming for medal honors.
Granted, Schneider wasn’t going to cut Bradley off his schedule, but the biggest point – the then rookie had a long way to go to become the golfer he is today. And credit goes to Bradley, who plans to return to the program for a fifth season next year.
Before Rob Bradley became Purdue’s male golf coach in 2013, he was an assistant in Alabama and North Florida. The warm weather allowed her son to play tennis outdoors against strong competition with many courts available. Golf was not on the radar until the family moved to Indiana.
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After Bradley was appointed Boilermaker’s Coach, Schneider approached him at the state’s annual clinic, believing Cole would be a natural fit for his program.
“I had seen Cole’s photo in the tennis newspaper,” Schneider recalls. “I introduced myself to introduce myself and I asked, ‘Does he play golf?’ Rob said, ‘Yes he played but tennis is where it is and it doesn’t. did not show much interest. ” “
With limited indoor tennis facilities in the area, Cole’s interest began to change and he spent his free time at the Spurgeon Golf Training Center at the Boilermaker Golf Resort. The more he was around his father’s team, the more he was drawn to the sport.
“Just facilities here at Purdue, they were so nice I went out and started training and got hooked,” Cole said. “I never went back.”
Elder Bradly believes his son’s golfing career began “almost out of boredom” due to the lack of tennis courts available in the area during the winter. At Purdue, Cole could golf from sunrise to sunset at the indoor facilities. This is exactly what happened.
But his 24-hour practice and gambling habits did not immediately pay off. In his first invite, Cole shot 102, about 30 shots over par. By the end of his first season, his average was 20 shots lower and a career was launched.
A year later, Cole won medal honors at the IHSAA State Championship.
“He’s just worked and worked and worked, but he’s also talented,” said Schneider. “He’s a strong kid so it helped a lot, but he kept working on it over and over again. He stayed after practice, worked alone on the weekends and all that good stuff. His work ethic is incredible.
The work ethic can be attributed to a competitive base established in the family.
Rob was an outstanding golfer in North Carolina when current Purdue women’s coach Devon Brouse was leading the men’s program. Rob’s wife Chasity is currently “obsessed with pickleball,” recently returning from a tournament in Atlanta. Cole’s sister, Wesley, plays tennis and golf at Harrison.
“Whether it’s ping pong at home or whatever, you really don’t have a choice but to be competitive,” said Rob.
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And then there were the father-son golf games that were initially dominated by Rob, but Cole started winning his share of battles on the course. There was always a discussion about when Cole would defeat his father and what that moment would feel like.
“It was here in Kampen,” Cole said. “I had a 67. It was in the 70s or something.
Said Rob: “Now this is happening a lot more than I would like.”
The bond created by the two is even stronger and Rob has been there every step of the way. He served as Cole’s caddy during the regional and will once again be on the sack at the NCAA Championships, providing insight and support.
“It was a little more scary as a father,” Rob said of the regional. “But I think he helped me in that he seemed so focused and calm that I wasn’t really anxious. I was trying to stick to the same plan and worry one shot at a time and try to help her where I could.
Cole had a solid career for the Boilermakers and his father, but winning the regional title was his first individual title at the college level. There have been stretches of solid play throughout his career, but the regional title should be more of a breakthrough, especially considering Cole played the last seven holes at 5-under to win by two strokes. .
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In fact, its finish was similar to when Cole won his second First Coast Amateur in January 2020 by playing the last 11 holes in 5 under. The focus Cole had during the regional – and during the coast’s first amateur – should serve him well as he battles for an NCAA title.
“In the first am hill, I was birdie on 18 and I didn’t even really know what I shot the last nine,” said Cole. “I played piecemeal and I signed my card, I drew a 31 or a 32, but it helped me a lot at the regional ones. On the last nine I was hitting shot by blow and had no idea I needed a birdie on the last two holes to win.
“I played my best golf without worrying about my score and that of others. Just focus on the next move and that’s when I play my best.
Mike Carmine covers Purdue Sports for the Journal & Courier. Email [email protected] and follow on Twitter @carmin_jc
MEN’S NCAA GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Grayhawk Golf Club, North Scottsdale, Arizona.
TV: Golf Channel (Monday 2 pm-6pm individual champion)
Format: Three days of stroke play (54 holes) after which the top 15 teams and nine non-progressing individuals will play a final 18-hole day on Monday to determine the 72-hole individual champion.
People: Cole Bradley (Purdue); Ryan Hall (South Carolina); Tristan Mandur (Utah); AJ Ott (State of Colorado); James Piot (State of Michigan); Michael Sakane (Jacksonville).