Atlanta: Something in the Atlanta air certainly suits Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner as the two Americans surged into contention for the Tour Championship on Thursday a month after vying for the PGA Championship.
Bradley, who claimed his first major title at nearby Atlanta Athletic Club, took control of the PGA Tour`s final FedExCup playoff event by shooting a sparkling six-under-par 64 in the opening round at East Lake Golf Club.
Journeyman Dufner, beaten by Bradley after three extra holes at last month`s PGA Championship, opened with a 66 to share second place at East Lake with fellow American Chez Reavie and British world number one Luke Donald.
"It`s really cool," a beaming Bradley told reporters after charging to the top of the leaderboard with seven birdies and a lone bogey at the par-four eighth. "Jason was playing right in front of me today, and I hope I get to play with him (this week). He`s a good guy and it would be a lot of fun."
Dufner, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour, agreed.
"Hopefully we`ll be paired together tomorrow," said the 34-year-old from Cleveland, whose career highlights include two wins on the second-tier Nationwide Tour.
"That would be a little interesting, I guess. Maybe some thoughts here or there will come back and forth (from the PGA Championship).
Bradley, who won his first PGA Tour title in a playoff at the Byron Nelson Championship in May, could not pinpoint exactly why the Atlanta area seemed to ignite his game.
"I don`t know," the slender 25-year-old said. "I really like the golf courses here and I also really like the grass that we play on.
"These courses are very similar ... but it`s the exact same grass and on the greens. I grew up on bentgrass, but it seems like I`m way more comfortable out here for whatever reason.
"The greens here are immaculate, and they`re identical to Atlanta Athletic Club. We both liked the look of that course."
Regardless of how cool it would be to play together this week at East Lake, Dufner said he and Bradley were much more concerned with trying to win the tournament and clinch the season-long FedExCup with its $10 million bonus.
"Both of us are more focused on what in the future is going on," Dufner added. "He`s got a chance to possibly play in the Presidents Cup (team competition) and he`s got a chance to obviously win this tournament.
"I`m kind of in the same boat. Both of us will be more focused on tomorrow`s round than on what happened a month or five weeks ago."