Co-leader David Bradshaw hits off the tee during the opening round of the West Virginia Open Wednesday at Parkersburg Country Club.
VIENNA - Ian Patrick was as surprised as anyone Wednesday when he tied for the opening round lead at the 80th West Virginia Open.The 39-year-old amateur from Huntington shot a 3-under-par 69 to tie with Bakerton pro and six-time champion David Bradshaw on the par-72, 6,927-yard Parkersburg Country Club course.Scott Davis, a 57-year-old pro from Hurricane and a four-time Open winner, Bob Friend, the pro at Pikewood National Golf Club in Morgantown and runner-up in 2011, and Chris McGinnis, also a pro at Pikewood who resides in Waynesburg, Pa., were one stroke off the lead at 2-under 70. Freeman's John Ross, a pro who is a two-time winner of the Open, and amateur Sam O'Dell, a dentist from Hurricane, were two shots back at 1-under 71. (See Page 2B for Wednesday's results.)Patrick, whose best finish in the Open was last year's 11th-place showing at Edgewood Country Club in Sissonville, fired six birdies and three bogeys Wednesday.The retired chef who now runs a wine distributorship was at 4 under through the first 14 holes. His round could have even been better after he hit within 12 feet on No. 17 but settled for par, then missed a 5-foot putt on No. 18 for birdie on his final hole. "I made bogey and it kind of settled me down to finish the round,'' said Patrick, who plays in several West Virginia Golf Association tournaments throughout the year. "You never say a bogey is a good thing, but my stomach calmed down a lot and I just kind of free-wheeled it after that a little bit better."I made some really good swings. I hit a lot of really good shots and then when I missed the greens I chipped 'em in [close to the hole] two out of four times. I hit 14 greens [in regulation] so I hit the ball tee to green really good and got a lot out of the round.''Bradshaw, who has won the Open six of the last nine years, turned in four birdies with one bogey. Bradshaw, who has been playing on mini tours in California and the Carolinas and participated in several PGA Tour qualifiers, birdied two of his first three holes, but only had two more over the last 15 holes."I didn't think I hit the ball very good,'' said Bradshaw, who tied for second last year at Edgewood Country Club in Sissonville. "I didn't drive the ball great. I hit a lot of bad shots. I was sloppy off the tee. I wasn't great around the greens. I'd give shots away."I didn't do much of anything good. I had four simple up-and-downs and I converted on one. I felt the round was mediocre at best. Luckily the leader board is slim in the red. What was really tough is you have to fly the ball so far because [the fairways] are so wet and slow. I just have to play a tighter round.''
Pro Christian Brand, a former Capital High and Marshall standout who finished tied for second with Bradshaw last year, finished at 1-over 73. Scott Bibbee of Vienna, a member of PCC, shot an even-par 70 to tie for eighth.Patrick and several of the Open participants picked a fantasy team among the players in this week's field."We had a draft last night,'' he said. "It was 10 of us sitting around Buffalo Wild Wings watching the [NBA Finals] and nobody picked me."I didn't even pick myself. Everybody else picked themselves except me. I won first pick and I picked Christian [Brand]. I may throw it coming down the stretch or the cash. No, I'm kidding.''Patrick was the first participant out on the first hole of Sunday's Coca-Cola Shootout at the Open.
"It's definitely a different feeling you get in your stomach when you get that low under par,'' said Patrick, a 1991 graduate of Huntington East High School who didn't start playing golf until college. "I'm usually around par when I play. I really don't go low. I think I've had a couple of 66s in my day just playing with my friends [and] not in a tournament of any sort.''Patrick will tee off today on No. 10, where he missed 10-footer for eagle Wednesday."I'd like to get that eagle back,'' he laughed. "I'm going to play aggressive and keep going at it.''"Ian's a great dude,'' added Bradshaw. "I really like him. He's so cool and nice. I'm pumped that he's playing well. I'm happy for him.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.