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Brand determined to play Greenbrier Classic

Jun. 30, 2013 @ 11:35 PM

DANIELS, W.Va. -- Christian Brand cleared the first hurdle last Thursday. The former Marshall University golfer will attempt to clear the second Monday.

If he does, Brand will have a spot in the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic scheduled Thursday through Sunday on Old White TPC at The Greenbrier Resort down Interstate 64 in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Hurdle No. 2 is the Monday qualifier where just four players from the field will advance to the main event. Brand and his fellow competitors are back on the par-72 Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs. Brand carded 68 there in the pre-qualifier on Thursday, making him one of 51 players to make it to the next stage.

"I want to get back for sure," said Brand, who played in the 2011 Classic as an amateur thanks to the exemption he got for winning the 2011 West Virginia Amateur. The State Am that year ended on July 8 and the Greenbrier Classic was held July 28-31. Brand shot 73-78 for 151 and missed the cut.

Brand, who turned pro after he finished at Marshall, knows he has to go low Monday. In 2010, the No. 4 qualifier shot 69. In 2011, five players shot 67 and only one moved on after a playoff. A year ago, six players came in at 66 and four got through via playoff.

"It went well," Brand said of Thursday's round. "Played well early and then kind of cruised through. You make sure you get through. Don't do anything stupid. Monday is what really matters."

Brand's split time on the e-Golf Pro Tour (based in Charlotte, N.C.) and NGA Pro Golf Tour. He played in the West Virginia Open on June 19-21 at Parkersburg Country Club and tied for third with Bob Friend at 3-under 213.

"The first 27 (holes) and second 27 were like two different tournaments," Brand said in breaking down his performance. "I played better as it went on. It had not been too good for me going in, but I felt a lot better coming out. When you're a little off, things start to snowball and it's an uphill battle.

"All the mistakes you make as a pro are magnified. In amateur golf, I might not play my best but I could still win."

Brand said making it into the Greenbrier Classic field and getting through to the weekend would do wonders for his career. The tournament's total purse is $6.3 million and the winner takes home $1,134,000. Ted Potter Jr. is the defending champion.

"It would help a lot of different things," Brand said. "I want to play on the PGA Tour. I'm capable of playing well enough to get in. Then you have to play well after you're there."

This is the fourth year the PGA TOUR has paid a visit to southern West Virginia. Two of the game's top left-handers, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, are in the field. This is Mickelson's third visit and Watson's first. Louis Oosthuizen, who is No. 10 in the World Golf Rankings, is also a first-time entry.

Two players coming in with momentum are Kenny Perry and Bill Haas.

Perry won the Senior Players Championship on Sunday, shooting 63-63-64 in the final rounds at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh to win by two over Fred Couples. It's the first major title of his career.

Haas won the AT&T National with a final-round 65 at Congressional. He now has won at least one PGA TOUR event each of the last four years, matched only by Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.

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