By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Keegan Bradley stunningly won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by one shot on Sunday after playing partner Jim Furyk, a stroke in front playing the last, double-bogeyed the 18th to tumble back into a tie for second.
American Bradley, who won his first major title at last year's PGA Championship, sank a 15-footer to save par on the final hole for a six-under 64 and a 13-under total of 267.
It was an agonising end for Furyk who had led the tournament from the first round and came after he was unable to hold on to the lead late at the U.S. Open in June.
Bradley had been in trouble playing the par-four last, finding a plugged lie in a greenside bunker with a wayward approach and splashing out well beyond the hole with his third shot.
However he coolly sank the par putt coming back before pumping his right fist in delight, then watched in amazement as a distraught Furyk butchered the hole.
Overnight leader Furyk missed a five-footer for bogey to take the tournament into a playoff and tapped in for a six and a closing 69 to finish at 12 under with fellow American Steve Stricker (64).
South African Louis Oosthuizen, alone in second place after the third round, was a further stroke back in fourth after carding a four-birdie 69.
Seven-times champion Tiger Woods, who had struggled with his putting in the first two rounds, signed off with a 66 to tie for eighth at four-under 276.
Furyk, seeking a 17th PGA Tour title, appeared to be heading for a wire-to-wire victory as he played the final hole.
Like Bradley, he miscued his approach and his ball ended up on the edge of the right greenside bunker from where he chunked his chip to just short of the fringe.
From there, he chipped to five feet short of the hole before missing the putt to hand Bradley his third PGA Tour victory.
"I've lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don't think I've let one ever slip nearly as bad as this one," Furyk told reporters. "This was my worst effort to finish off an event."
Bidding for his first PGA Tour title in two years, Furyk led by three shots midway through Sunday's final round before Bradley mounted a spectacular charge with a blistering run of three birdies in five holes after the turn.
Bradley, four shots off the pace overnight, covered the back nine in four-under 31 to end an unforgettable week in the best possible way for his PGA Championship title defence which starts at Kiawah Island in four days' time.
The final round was halted early on by just under three hours due to the threat of lightning before Furyk fended off an early charge by Oosthuizen as both players birdied the first two holes in rain-softened conditions.
Furyk then moved two ahead by sinking a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-four third where the South African missed his attempt from just six feet.
Worse was to follow for Oosthuizen at the par-three fifth where he three-putted for bogey, missing a four-footer for par to hand Furyk a three-stroke advantage.
While Oosthuizen's title bid effectively ended when he dropped another shot at the ninth after hitting a poor chip from in front of the green, Furyk reached the turn in two-under with a commanding three-shot cushion.
At that point, Bradley launched his assault. He drained a 24-footer at the 10th, a seven-footer at the 11th and a nine-footer at the 14th to trim Furyk's lead to just one shot.
Furyk sank a curling 18-footer to birdie the par-five 16th, pumping his right fist in celebration, but remained a stroke in front when Bradley followed suit with a 10-footer.
Two holes later, the tournament ended in dramatic fashion as Furyk imploded and Bradley courageously saved par to triumph by one shot.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Simon Evans)