By RYAN PRITT
VIENNA, W.Va. - In the course of three days at Parkersburg Country Club, David Bradshaw had more than enough to top the field - and maybe more impressively - himself, yet again.
With a final-round 3-under-par 70 on Friday, Bradshaw finished the 86th West Virginia Open at Parkersburg Country Club at 17-under to claim his 11th Open title by eight shots over Huntington's Josef Dransfeld and by nine over Kermit's Davey Jude. Those eight strokes represented Bradshaw's largest margin of victory and is the most in any Open since Brad Westfall defeated Eric Shaffer by eight at Pines Country Club in Morgantown in 1992.
Friday also wrapped up Bradshaw's fourth straight Open win - the first four-peat of his career - and he also became the first player to win the Coke Shootout (an event the day before the Open starts) and the Open in the same week.
There seems to be no slowing down the 36-year-old from Bakerton, West Virginia, when it comes to the State Open.
"Winning never gets old and if someone says it does, they're lying," Bradshaw said. "(The Coke Shootout) is in the back of your head but when you tee off the next day you kind of forget about it. But yeah, it was kind of nice to rid myself of the curse.
"Yesterday was so good in the wind I kind of separated myself where today I could kind of kick back and play it a little safe."
Dransfeld, a former Cabell Midland High School standout that just finished his freshman year at Elon University, entered the day trailing Bradshaw by nine strokes but pushed the issue early, birdieing two of the first three holes to close to within seven.
He had another short birdie putt at the par-4 fourth hole and Bradshaw chunked an approach shot short of the green, giving the youngster yet another golden opportunity. But Dransfeld's putt went begging and Bradshaw got up and down for par and the margin never got any closer.
"I still tried to play aggressive but I got a little lackadaisical on the back nine," Bradshaw said of consecutive bogeys on No. 14 and 15. "Lost a little focus but it was good enough to get it done. It was fun."
After an eagle at No. 6 and another birdie at No. 8, Dransfeld sat 5-under before making the turn. A three-put bogey at the par-3 ninth hole, however, signaled the beginning of the end for his faint, comeback chances. He went on to bogey Nos. 10 and 11 and double bogeyed No. 12 before finishing 4-under over the final six holes to narrowly hold off a hard-charging Jude.
"I played all-around good golf," Dransfeld said. "I had stretches of holes the past two days where it kind of cost me the tournament, but all-in-all I can't be upset with the way I played."
Jude turned in the best round of the final day, firing a closing 6-under, 67 to push Dransfeld to the bitter end. He figured to be a contender to win coming into the week but after playing his first nine at 1-under, hit it into the water at the par-5 10th to make double bogey on Wednesday, stalling his momentum while Bradshaw galloped away from the field.
Still, it was a strong end for Jude who said he was proud of Friday's round and hopes it signals good things to come.
"First day I was playing fine, 1-under no bogeys, and then I just made a rookie mistake on my 10th hole," Jude said. "Second day I tried to get a good round going but I kind of checked the leaderboard on the back nine and saw that Bradshaw was pretty much out of reach at that point.
"We tried to play for second, went out today and low round of the day on the final day is always fun. It was tough. Golf course was great in Parkersburg, I love the layout. But congratulations to Bradshaw. Hopefully next year it will be a little bit different story."
Hurricane's Philip Reale also had a great day, carding a 5-under, 68 to finish alone in fourth and four shots behind Dransfeld for low-amateur honors.
"Happy with how I played today, I'm not going to play much better," Reale said. "Goal every year with Bradshaw in the field is to make low am, so pretty happy. Josef Dransfeld played great, no denying that. I made as much of a run as I could."
Max Sear, who just graduated from WVU, shot a closing 2-under, 71 to finish fifth. Thad Obecny, who played in the final group with Bradshaw and Dransfeld, finished sixth after shooting a third-straight 1-under, 72. Tad Tomblin and Edgewood Country Club professional Craig Berner tied for seventh at even par with Owen Elliott and Winston Canada rounding out the top 10 in a tie for ninth at 1-over.
For Bradshaw, his 11th win moves him one step closer to Sam Snead who has the record for Open wins with 17. Bradshaw reached number 11, 20 years earlier than Snead did as he won his 11th at age 56. Still, as he has in most years, Bradshaw remained rather tight-lipped on the subject, pointing more toward how far he has to go than to how far he has come.
"I'm a long way away," Bradshaw said. "Winning golf tournaments isn't easy. I know sometimes you guys might think, 'Well you won by eight, it's not that hard.' It's extremely difficult. Six more is a long way to go. Hopefully someday I'll be on the PGA Tour and I'll get to skip this event and give these youngsters a chance, but we'll see."