Bradshaw leading by 3 shots
PARKERSBURG -- Two rounds into the 80th West Virginia Open golf championship, David Bradshaw is in a position he knows well. He's in the lead.
Bradshaw, a pro mini-tour player from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., shot a second 3-under-par 69 Thursday for a 138 total and 3-shot lead over amateur Woody Woodward of Bridgeport, W.Va., going into Friday's final round at Parkersburg Country Club.
"The goal in the final round is to be in the last group," said Bradshaw, who is seeking his seventh Open crown. "You have to put yourself in position to win. I haven't played my best the last two rounds, but it's been good enough. I found my way around."
Amateur Sam O'Dell from Hurricane, who won the West Virginia Mid-Amateur in May, is third at 142. He sank a 4-foot birdie putt on his final hole (No. 9) to sign for a second 71 and atone for a double-bogey on the par-4 17th.
Bradshaw has been a dominant force in this tournament since his breakthrough win in 2004 as an amateur at Edgewood Country Club. He's won five more as a pro and finished second two other times.
"I got sloppy in the middle stretch," Bradshaw, 30, said of his play Thursday morning. "I got to the house minus three. I'm happier today. The pins were in tougher spots than yesterday."
Parkersburg Country Club last hosted the Open in 1983. The course plays just more than 6,900 yards and features five par-5 holes.
There will be a new champion this year since 2012 winner Jonathan Clark, a pro from Hurricane, opted to play in the PGA National Club Pro Championship in Sunriver, Ore. That event begins Sunday. Other former Open winners competing in the Club Pro are Barry Evans of Charleston and Craig Berner from Scott Depot, W.Va.
Bradshaw led Woodward, who's headed to Wake Forest University, by three after the morning session. Woodward, who was paired with Bradshaw, fired a 67 for a 141.
"I struck the ball better yesterday than today," Woodward said. "Today was really a grind out there. Every opportunity I had I took advantage of. I was abIe to carry through. I left a little out there."
Woodward said being paired with Bradshaw and Charleston pro Christian Brand worked well. They were able to score and maintain a good pace of play.
"We're all going well and got into a rhythm," said Woodward, whose brother Jay played at Penn State. "We kept it clean. Make birdie and go to the next tee. No wait. That's fun to do."
"We feed off one another a bit," Bradshaw said. "It's fun. It's still an individual sport. It speeds play up, but it doesn't affect me too much."
O'Dell saw his afternoon surge take a hit with the double-bogey set up a drive that went way right up the hill and wound up lost.
"I did the same thing in the (Coca-Cola) Shootout," said O'Dell, who won Sunday's shootout. "That one hit a tree and I found it."
O'Dell, who played at Marshall University, is happy to be in the final group for Friday's round. He knew Bradshaw most likely would be in the hunt, but with Clark, Evans and Berner absent, anything could happen.
"He's not going to come back to you," O'Dell said of Bradshaw. "He's going to be tough to beat. I felt I could take a swing at it. Get within two and my history, anything could happen. But I would need help from him."
Huntington amateur Ian Patrick struggled to a 77, leaving him at 146. He shared the first-round lead with Bradshaw.
"I didn't get the breaks I had yesterday," Patrick said. "I didn't get the ball close to the hole. That made it tougher."
After Thursday's play, the 120-player field was cut to low 60 and ties.