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Michael Bradley's two-year exemption begins at Transitions Championship

Pro-am: Luke McCown, center, was one of several Bucs in the pro-am at Innisbrook. The event benefited the Impact Foundation.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Pro-am: Luke McCown, center, was one of several Bucs in the pro-am at Innisbrook. The event benefited the Impact Foundation.

PALM HARBOR — Valrico's Michael Bradley needed a top-10 finish at the Puerto Rico Open to qualify for this week's Transitions Championship. He did even better than that, earning his first win in 11 years. It was his first top-10 finish since 2000, a span of 64 events.

Bradley, 42, earned a two-year exemption through the 2011 season. The Puerto Rico Open was his first tournament since qualifying school in December. He arrives at Innisbrook today for a few practice rounds before playing in front of the home crowd. He played in Palm Harbor last year but missed the cut.

"I didn't know how I would react being in the final group; it's been so long since I've been there," Bradley said after his win.

The other players who earned their way into this week's tournament are Jason Day, Greg Chalmers, D.A. Points, Joe Durant, J.P. Hayes and Kent Jones.

HOME EVENT: The final two sponsor's exemptions for this week's tournament went to John Huston and Bob Heintz, both of whom live in Palm Harbor. Huston had been in the tournament but got bumped when seven players qualified after finishing in the top 10 in Puerto Rico. Both Huston and Heintz earned Tour cards at Q-school, and the final two sponsor's exemptions had to go to players who qualified that way. Huston won the tournament in 2000, its first year as a PGA event. Heintz has played four tournaments this season and missed the cut in three. He last played in the tournament in 2007.

Celebrity Pro-Am: Alex Cejka and former Lightning player Dave Andreychuk won. The event was filled with sports celebrities, mostly from the local sports scene. Buccaneers Ronde Barber, Luke McCown, Barrett Ruud, Matt Bryant and coach Raheem Morris participated, as well as Rays pitcher James Shields. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels was the only celebrity to not show up; he was en route to Philadelphia to have his left elbow checked.

Monday qualifiers: Stephen Gangluff (65) and Peter Tomasulo (66) earned spots; the other two places will be decided today in a five-way playoff.

On tap today: Most of the field rolls in to play practice rounds. Pros will be on the course as well as the practice green and driving range. There is room for spectators at both places.

Michael Bradley's two-year exemption begins at Transitions Championship 03/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:59am]
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