Coca-Cola Shootout kicks off W.Va. Open festivities

VIENNA – At the Coca-Cola Shootout, the goal is to be the last man standing.

Today’s event kicks off a week-long of festivities for the 80th West Virginia Open at Parkersburg Country Club. A pro-am event is scheduled for Monday while Tuesday night, a past champions dinner at PCC will honor Larry Martin.

The pressure then mounts for three days of competition. The field of 120 golfers will play one round on both Wednesday and Thursday. The low 60 scores and ties advance to Friday’s final round.

“Actually, the golf course is in perfect condition – it’s right where we want it,” said Ken Tackett, who serves as the executive director for the West Virginia Golf Association. “(Parkersburg Country Club superintendent Phil Fetzner) has done an outstanding job.

“This is the most volunteers we’ve had for a West Virginia Open. The membership has gotten behind (PGA professional) Scott Davidson and he’s done an amazing job recruiting volunteers.”

The Coca-Cola Shootout involves 11 golfers trying to stave off elimination during the course of nine holes.

The field includes five professionals – Hurricane’s Jonathan Clark, Harpers Ferry’s David Bradshaw, South Charleston’s Christian Brand, Scott Depot’s Craig Berner and either Hurricane’s Scott David or Parkersburg’s Kenny Hess.

Davidson received an exemption into the field and will join five amateurs – Hurricane’s Sam O’Dell and Brian Anania, Charleston’s Bosten Miller, Clendenin’s Todd Westfall and Wheeling’s Bryan Myers – to fill out the field.

Two golfers will be eliminated from the field after the first hole, then it boils down to one golfer bowing out after each of the next eight holes.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch,” said Brad Ullman, who serves as the director of operations for the WVGA. “Normally at other state opens, we simply use the front nine or back nine. But with the way the course is laid out at Parkersaburg Country Club, we have the unique opportunity where we can jump around holes from the front nine to the back nine.

“It will be interesting for the players and fun for the spectators.”