Patrick, Bradshaw tied at W.Va. Open
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Huntington's Ian Patrick found himself in uncharted waters on Wednesday at the Parkersburg Country Club, standing in the parking lot surrounded by media members wanting to talk about his opening round at the 80th West Virginia Open.
Unfamiliar? Yes, but certainly welcoming.
The 39-year-old Patrick, whose best finish at the Open was 11th last year, shares the first-day lead with Bakerton native David Bradshaw, someone who is used to being at the top.
Not bad for a guy who didn't play high school golf before graduating from Huntington East High School in 1991.
"I didn't pick up a golf club until I was 19," said Patrick, who had six birdies and three bogeys on the 6,927-yard course that is playing as a par 72 for the Open instead of 73. "I've gotten better every single year. The guys I play with are the guys who are up near the top of the leaderboards, like Christian (Brand) and all those guys. They're my friends. I was tired of getting beat by them, so I'd practice longer."
Patrick was at 4-under par through 14 holes, giving him temporary sole ownership of the lead, but at bogey on 15 put him in a deadlock with six-time Open champion Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, who is living in San Diego while pursuing his dream of earning a PGA Tour card, scrambled to a 3-under 69, falling short on opportunities to score.
He was at 2-under until a birdie on the par 5 No. 18, brought him into a tie for the lead. Patrick and Bradshaw are two of seven players under par after the first round.
Hurricane's Scott Davis, a four-time Open champion, is tied with Pikewood National Golf Club pros Bob Friend and Chris McGinnis at 2-under.
Hurricane dentist Sam O'Dell and Champions Tour player John Ross of Freeman are at 1-under par.
They all sit behind veteran Bradshaw and Patrick, a relative newcomer.
Patrick attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, S.C.
A chef by trade, Patrick spent 20 years cooking and retired last year. He started a wine distributorship with friends, but is still getting familiar with golf success.
"It's a different feeling you get in your stomach when you get that far under par," said Patrick, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and a chef by trade. "I'm usually around par when I play. I don't usually go low. I had a couple 66s in my day playing with my friends, but not in any tournament.
"I made bogey and it kind of settled me down. You never say a bogey's a good thing, but my stomach calmed down a lot."
Bradshaw was steady, with four birdies and a bogey, but couldn't consistently hit the shots that would bring him the low numbers he knows were on the course.
The former Shepherd College standout has competed in three PGA Tour events and five Nationwide Tour (now Web.com Tour) events during his professional career.
One of those PGA tournaments was this year at the Tampa Bay Championship, in which he missed the cut.
Where he hasn't faltered much is the Open, which he has won six times - all since 2004. However, his margin of victory has never been more than one shot.
"In my competitive rounds, I haven't broken 70 but like four times in about 20 rounds this year," he said. "I'm right there. You have to get hot at the right time.
"I played sloppy tee to green. I played out of the rough on holes I shouldn't have. Hitting 3-wood off the tee, I hit in the rough. It was sloppy."
Davis, who last won the Open in 1998 at Edgewood Country Club, isn't far behind. The four-time champion had four birdies and two bogeys.
The 57-year-old Hurricane teaching pro had a morning tee time, facing the conditions hours after inclement weather swept through Wood County and dropped rain on the course.
"It played longer, your tee balls just sort of plugged and there was no roll out there," he said. "Into the greens, I felt better because I knew I could throw darts, but the greens were bumpy in the morning. There were a lot of footprints and they were going down, but didn't have time to recover. As it dried out that changed."
Two-time West Virginia Open champion, defending titlist and Sleepy Hollow Golf Club General Manager Jonathan Clark isn't in the field. He is in Sunriver Resort in Oregon with 2008 Open champion and Berry Hills Country Club pro Barry Evans and 2005 Open champ and Edgewood Country Club pro Craig Berner to compete in the PGA Professional National Championship.
In all, there are 5 players in the field who have won a combined 21 Open titles: Bradshaw (6), Westfall (5), Davis (4), Harold Payne (4) and John Ross (2).
The tournament continues today at 8 a.m. for the second round of the 54-hole event. After today's round, the field will be cut to the top 60 scores plus ties.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.