David Walsh: Bradshaw is ready for golf tournament in Pittsburgh
Come Monday, David Bradshaw tees it up in a $150,000 golf tournament in Pittsburgh, and Sam O'Dell puts on the white coat and goes back to seeing patients at his dental practice in Hurricane. Those are the career paths of one pro and one amateur golfer.
Bradshaw, who beat O'Dell by four shots Friday to win the 80th West Virginia Open at Parkersburg Country Club, is defending champion in the 72-hole Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational at the Pittsburgh Field Club. He got an exemption into the 2012 event and shot even-par 280 to take home the $30,000 first prize. Top prize for 2013 has been bumped up to $35,000.
In watching Bradshaw win seven Opens, the first as an amateur in 2004 and six as a pro, it's clear he can adapt to any course layout. He'd never seen Parkersburg Country Club until the Open, yet shot 69-69-67 for an 11-under 205. The week before, he posted a 10-under 206 to finish fifth in the e-Golf Tour's Spring Creek Classic in Gordonsville, Va. Before that, he shot a 6-under 66 in the Monday qualifier for the web.com Tour's Mid-Atlantic Championship in Potomac, Md. He ended up in a 9-way playoff for one of six tournament spots and didn't make it.
"Every week I'm learning a new course," Bradshaw said. "You break it down back from green to tee and try to carry out that plan. It's a grind. The competition is good. You don't quit."
Bradshaw is No. 2 on the all-time Open win list. The leader is legendary Sam Snead with 17 in 20 attempts. Snead had one each at Guyan Golf and Country Club, Spring Valley Country Club and Riviera Country Club.
Bradshaw was asked how it felt to have his name mentioned with Snead's.
"What would he think of me? He'd probably wonder why I'm not playing on tour," Bradshaw said. "It was a different era. He played in this (West Virginia Open) and won the Masters the same year.
"I guess it's awesome because Sam happened to be from here. If he were from North Carolina, he probably would have won that 17 times. But he happened to be from here, and it's awesome for the state of West Virginia, and it's awesome to have my name next to him."
It's no secret, though, that Bradshaw wants to be full time on the PGA Tour. He just turned 30 and believes he still has time to earn that Tour card. For now, it's life on mini-tours, Tri-State PGA, Monday qualifiers for PGA Tour events and, yes, even the West Virginia Open.
The 2014 Open will be held on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs. Bradshaw knows that course, the home of the Greenbrier Classic's Monday qualifier. He'll be there again for that event on July 1. In 2006, he secured his first Open win as a pro at Glade Springs.
"If I'm there," Bradshaw said in looking to an Open title defense. "When I play in the Open, I want to win. My goal is to play on Tour. I want to win on Tour. I need the opportunity to play at a higher level."
O'Dell, who played at Marshall University, shot 5-under 67 on Friday, the same as Bradshaw, and finished as the low amateur. The closest amateur to him was Bosten Miller, another former Thundering Herd golfer who is in medical school, at 214.
"I couldn't be happier," O'Dell said. "That's as good as I can play."
O'Dell will pass on Greenbrier Classic qualifying. He has to strike a balance between work and golf, so he can't be out of the office for extended periods. The next big event is the West Virginia Amateur on Aug. 5-8 at The Greenbrier Resort. A win there would get him an exemption into the 2014 Greenbrier Classic.
"I look forward to it. It'll be the same thing there," O'Dell said. "I'll have numbers I want to shoot, and get there, hopefully, on the last day. David Bradshaw won't be there, that will help."
SUGARWOOD TOURNAMENT: There is still time to enter the Dave Boyer 2-Person Invitational scheduled Saturday and Sunday at Sugarwood Golf Club. Format is best ball in round one and scramble in round two. Players get a practice round on Friday. Call 304-523-6500.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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