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W.VA. OPEN: Two-time champion Clark remembers Cobb Course

By Rich Stevens, Assistant sports editor

DANIELS — The year was 2006 when Jonathan Clark, then the head pro at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, proclaimed that David Bradshaw has his “number” the last time the W.Va. Open was played at the Resort at Glade Springs’ Cobb Course.

That was six years before he gained a bit of redemption with a 2012 win at Edgewood Country Club.

It wouldn’t be quite a sweet as winning back at Glade, where the 81st edition of the W.Va. Open will be played July 21-25.

“That year was very disappointing,” Clark said during Open media day at Glade Springs. “I won in 2001 and once you win one you want the second one.

After 2004 at Edgewood, I lost by one to Bradshaw. In 2006, I should’ve won, didn’t win. That’s the way golf is. You can’t always say you’re going to win, but it was very disappointing.”

Clark will seek his third Open championship two years after his most recent which slowed down David Bradshaw, the native of Bakerton who lives in San Diego while still pursuing his PGA Tour card.

Bradshaw has won seven of the last 10 Opens, interrupted only by Edgewood pro Craig Berner, who won in 2005, Berry Hills pro Barry Evans, who won in 2008, and Clark.

Bradshaw hasn’t always had it easy, winning by one stroke four times, in a playoff twice and by four strokes last year at Parkersburg Country Club.

Clark, on the other hand, won in 2012 by six strokes sparked by a final-round 65 at Edgewood, a course that seems to fit his long-driving game.

Clark, who is now the general manager at Sleepy Hollow, said the Cobb Course also fits his game. In 2006, he led by one stroke going into the 15th hole but attempted to drive the ball over the trees and his ball wound up in deep rough.

The result was a bogey and a one-shot loss to Bradshaw and a second-place tie with Evans and Huntington’s Pat Carter.

“I love this golf course,” Clark said. “I think this golf course could be one of my favorite golf courses in the state to play. All in all, with the big greens, you can drive it, it has big trees, it’s not always out of bounds, right, left, every which way to fear, but, it’s a ball-striking golf course. You have to hit it well, put the ball in the right segment of the greens. If you do that, you can score. The guys who can’t get it out of the rough and put it in the right positions, they’re going to struggle.”

“It’s lengthy,” West Virginia Golf Association executive director Brad Ullman said. “Jonathan is one of the longest players. Look at the last Open here, there’s Jonathan, Bradshaw, two of the longest players in the state. People call it a bomber’s course and I don’t necessarily agree with that. As large as these greens are, we can put those flagsticks in some very small areas. We were just discussing the cutting schedule of the fairways and the rough and the greens. The rough mowers are going to get turned off next week. There’s going to be some challenges around the greens and I think that’ll be more of the test than just its brutal length.”

This year’s field will include 2014 State Amateur champion Brian Anania, as well as Christian Brand, Pat Carter and the top 40 finishers from last year’s Amateur. Sam O’Dell, the 2013 State Amateur champion who finished second in the Open last year, is in the field as well as Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend, who finished in a tie for third last year with Brand.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail


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