WVGA Golf: Bradshaw wins seventh Open title
VIENNA -- Former Shepherd College golfer and Bakerton native David Bradshaw has proved that, no matter who is in the field at the West Virginia Open, he's up to the task.
Bradshaw, who is living in San Diego, Calif., while chasing his PGA Tour card, shot an 11-under 205 in the 54-hole championship at Parkersburg Country Club, his seven Open crown but first by more than one stroke.
"It was a larger victory than I'm used to, but Sam (O'Dell) pressed on me hard and I got it going there on the back," Bradshaw said after Friday's final round. "It was great It was awesome."
Bradshaw has won titles at Edgewood Country Club (2004), The Resort at Glade Springs (2006), Lakeview Country Club (2007), Oglebay Park in Wheeling (2009), Sleepy Hollow Golf Club (2010), Pines Country Club in Morgantown (2011) and now Parkersburg (2013).
This year's field was reduced considerably after Berry Hills Country Club head professional and 2008 Open champ Barry Evans, Edgewood pro and 2005 titlist Craig Berner and Sleepy Hollow general manager and 2001 and 2012 champ Jonathan Clark went to Oregon to compete in the Professional National Championship at Sunrise Resort near Bend. They are the only players to win other than Bradshaw since 2004.
Thirteen-time Amateur champion Pat Carter, who never has won the Open but has been in contention a number of times, also missed because of surgery on his left eye.
However, it's Bradshaw's seventh championship in 10 years, and he trails only Sam Snead in Open titles. Snead has won 17, with his last coming in 1973.
The 30-year-old former West Virginia Conference Player of the Year had to hold off amateur Sam O'Dell, who finished four strokes back but still managed to be the Open's low amateur for the fourth time.
"My name's going to be on the trophy again, which is awesome," said Bradshaw, who also receives the top prize award of $6,000 that goes to the professional winner. "It puts me one closer to Sam Snead, but I still need a whole decade of them to catch up."
O'Dell made it interesting, closing to within two strokes, but Bradshaw followed a bogey on No. 5 with an eagle on No. 6. He then played the last 12 holes at 4-under to earn his largest margin of victory in the Open.
Bradshaw won four times by one stroke in regulation, and twice in playoffs.
"I started hitting the ball good," Bradshaw said. "I hit that shot on six, then started going from there. I found my golf swing there, and just kind of knew I would hit a putt eventually."
O'Dell had no qualms about losing to Bradshaw, who he felt was the best player in the tournament.
"I knew my number, but I knew I needed help," O'Dell said. "I didn't get the help, but of course I wasn't wishing him to (falter). It's a great course, great tournament and it got the best player winning it. There's no question, he's tough.
"I knew at some point he would have to do something out of the ordinary (to give me a chance). I was just trying to shoot my number and I pretty much did. Best player won, this week."
Christian Brand rallied with a 3-under in the final round to finish third, while Bob Friend finished at 3-under. Kenneth Hess and Bosten Miller finished 2-under and Philip Reale II, the brother of 2007 Amateur champion Anthony Reale, was at 1-under and one of seven players to finish under par. Woody Woodward, who shot 5-under in the second round to get into contention, finished even.
The 81st Open will be moving to The Glade Springs Resort's Cobb Course in 2014. It will return to the Cobb in 2017. Weirton's Williams Country Club and Bridgeport's Pete Dye Golf Club will host the Open in 2015 and 2016, although it hasn't been determined which course will host which year.