MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Six former champions are in the field for this week’s 87th West Virginia Open. For the second time in three years and the sixth time overall, the state championship will be contested at the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort in Daniels.
The 54-hole championship, open to professionals and amateurs, begins Tuesday, June 23. The field will be cut from 135 players to the low 60 scores and ties prior to Thursday’s final round.
11-time champion and Shepherd alumnus David Bradshaw is seeking his fifth consecutive title. He has claimed 11 of the last 16 state open titles (’04, ’06, ’07, ’09-’11, ’13, ’16-’19). Two of his championships have been won on the Cobb Course (’06 & ’18). Bradshaw trails only Sam Snead (17) for the most Open titles.
Capital High School and Marshall University alumnus Christian Brand makes his return to the Open field this week. Brand won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 at Glade Springs and Berry Hills Country Club, respectively. Brand competed on the Korn Ferry Tour from 2017-2019.
The four other former champions in the field are Craig Berner (’05), Scott Davis (’82, ’90, ’95 & ’98), Barry Evans (’08) and John Ross (’97 & ’99).
Bradshaw will be part of a featured afternoon grouping in Tuesday’s opening round. He will tee off on #1 at 12:30 with two of the state’s top amateur golfers. 2018 WVGA Mid-Amateur champion Philip Reale and 13-time West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter.
Another featured afternoon grouping tees off on #10 at 12:20. Defending West Virginia Amateur champion and Georgia Southern redshirt sophomore Mason Williams is paired with Shady Spring’s 2019 Class AA state champion and defending WVGA Junior Amateur and Junior Match Play champion Todd Duncan and defending Senior Amateur champion Jim Grimmett.
Other notable players in the field include:
- Ryan Bilby (Class AAA 2019 state champion from Brooke High School)
- Argyle Downes (Youngest player in the field at 14 years old)
- Sam O’Dell (4-time West Virginia Amateur champion)
The Pro-Am tournament is scheduled for Sunday. Ten players will compete in the Coke Shootout on Monday. The ‘knockout-style’ competition eliminates one player (with the highest score) after each of the nine holes. The last player standing is the champion. The field consists of:
- Professionals: David Bradshaw, Davey Jude, Kyle Long, Thadd Obecny, Craig Berner
- Amateurs: Josef Dransfeld, Philip Reale, Tad Tomblin, Owen Elliott, Jess Ferrell
For the first time this year, the qualifying process included a ‘Last chance qualifier’. After the regularly scheduled five qualifying tournaments were completed at the Pines Country Club, Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, Cacapon Resort, Riverside Golf Club and the Cobb Course, the WVGA hosted an additional tournament at Greenhills Country Club. Trevor Hedges, John Francisco, Ricky Dingess, Jackson Hill and Isaac Prine claimed the last five spots in the Open field.