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Bradshaw hoping it's his time

Chip Ellis
David Bradshaw will be competing for one of four spots in the Greenbrier Classic at today's qualifier.
David Bradshaw is at peace with his game."I'm pretty comfortable with my golf swing,'' the six-time West Virginia Open champion said in a phone interview last week from Jefferson County."My game is starting to get pretty complete, which is nice. I'm not doing a whole lot of searching. Right now I seem to be on a roll.''Bradshaw is putting together his best season yet as a professional, and the timing couldn't be better.The Bakerton resident, who turned pro 61/2 years ago, was runner-up in this year's Open and followed that up this past week with his biggest payday yet, taking the Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational and its $30,000 first-place prize.  Bradshaw then finished tied for 11th in Thursday's Greenbrier Classic pre-qualifier at Glade Springs, earning a spot in today's qualifier, where four golfers will advance to this week's PGA Tour event.Bradshaw wrestled with his approach last year in spite of playing in two PGA events, a pair of Tour tournaments and one eGolf Professional Tour event."I feel like my game has taken a 180 from last year,'' he said. "Last year my game was just incomplete. I was just fighting my way around a golf course. "You can do that in the Monday qualifiers and the mini-tour events, but when you get to a [PGA] Tour-level golf course, it's just so difficult if you're game isn't solid from end to end. It's going to eat you up and it did. I just found a way to get through the year.''Bradshaw took a break from competition last autumn to clear his head."It gives you a chance to kind of start over,'' he said. "I was headed down the wrong road.'' Bradshaw, who resides near San Diego during the golf season, regrouped and found his passion again this spring as the head coach of the 16-member boys golf team at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, Calif.
"Those kids play for fun because they love golf,'' he said. "I really liked it. I had so much fun with the kids. In that world, it's more about the camaraderie and making sure everyone is enjoying golf and getting the most out of it.''The gig also allowed Bradshaw to refine his game."I would play with them,'' he said. "I was staying competitive. I was playing tournament golf without playing in any tournaments. They beat me one time. I had to shoot some low numbers to do it. I had a couple of kids who could break par.''
Once Bradshaw began entering tournaments again in late spring, his game took off.He took second in a mini-tour event in California then missed qualifying for the U.S. Open earlier this month by four strokes in a 36-hole sectional qualifier in San Francisco in which 130 golfers were vying for seven spots.Bradshaw hopes the uptick continues at today's Greenbrier Classic qualifier, where he has been seemingly snake-bitten. He lost out on the final qualifying spot as part of a five-way playoff in 2010 and a six-way playoff in 2011."Obviously the biggest thing would be to get into the Greenbrier and have a good showing there,'' he said. "I certainly like Glade Springs and I've played historically well there. It's going to come down to a few shots. You have to keep your fingers crossed and hope it's your time.'' All signs seem to be indicating this could be the breakthrough Bradshaw has been waiting for."You just do the best you can and wait,'' he said. "I've come so close I feel like it's right there. I feel like I can reach out and touch it.
"I have continually gotten better year after year. Hopefully that's good enough. You hope however good you are, it can take you to the next level. I hope it's my time. I feel ready mentally and physically.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinsonat tatkinson@wvgazette.comor 304-348-4811.
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