W.Va. Open drawing nearer

VIENNA – Several of the top players competing at next month’s West Virginia Open received a sneak peek at what conditions should resemble when the entire 120-player field converges on Parkersburg Country Club for the start of the tournament on June 19.

Thursday served as a stress-free environment for golfers such as six-time champion David Bradshaw and 13-time W.Va. Amateur champion Pat Carter, who played together in one of a handful of foursomes competing in a scramble format for Media Day.

The 30-year-old Bradshaw liked what he saw in his initial visit to Parkersburg Country Club.

“This golf course is fun – it’s in beautiful condition,” The Harpers Ferry native said. “As far as playing different courses, I just prepare for them the same way. Actually, it’s nice to play different courses.”

The foursome headlined by Bradshaw and Carter turned in the low round. Carter hasn’t lost his competitive edge and feels he has enough left in the tank to give the upper echelon of golfers a run for their money.

“David Bradshaw is the most seasoned of anybody that plays in this event,” Carter said. “Basically, he plays year-round and is trying to make a living playing golf. He is very polished and if he makes any putts he will shoot under par.

“He hits it so far, drive its straight and has a good iron game. If anybody is lucky enough to be paired with him on the last day then they will have played some good golf.”

West Virginia Golf Association executive director Ken Tackett gave his stamp of approval on the progress being made with course conditions at Parkersburg Country Club. One subtle change fans can expect at the West Virginia Open is the course going from a par 73 to a par 72. The 16th hole will be converted from a par 5 to a par 4.

“The golf course is in perfect condition,” Tackett said. “(PCC superintendent Phil Fetzner) has done an outstanding job. The course is healthier than I have ever seen it. They’ve went out of their way with all the little details. It’s the best I’ve seen Parkersburg Country Club.”

A record number of entries were received for this year’s West Virginia Open. A total of 281 golfers have registered. Five qualifiers are being conducted throughout the state, including one at the Golf Club of West Virginia on Friday, June7.

The Coca-Cola Shootout on Father’s Day (June 16) will kick off the festivities for the Open.

“We’re really getting our logistics in place,” said Scott Davidson, who is the PGA professional at PCC. “I’m anxiously nervous. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and ask the right questions.

“This is my first state open as host and we want to make sure we do our part and give the (WVGA) the best venue we can.”