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Wheeling’s Obecny finishes third in W.Va. Open; Brand wins

ROANOKE, W.Va. — Christian Brand played his best when it mattered most and he will be going home with the trophy to prove it after winning the 89th WV Open Championship at Stonewall Resort Friday afternoon.

Brand shot 4-under 68 in the final round Friday to outpace second-place David Bradshaw, who shot 1-under 71, and third-place Thadd Obecny, who shot even par 72.

Brand and Bradshaw entered the day tied atop the standings, but Brand’s spotless play gave him an early lead he would never relinquish.

“He pretty much only made one or two bad swings all day,” Obecny said of Brand. “He made a bunch of birdies and Dave and I just could never really put much pressure on him. Christian just kind of ran away with it at the end.”

Brand birdied three straight holes from No. 6 to 8 and not even a double bogey on hole 13 could slow him down.

He finished the three-day tournament 10-under 206.

Bradshaw birdied once on the front nine and twice on the backside, but had a double bogey on No. 11. He finished the tournament 7-under 209.

Obecney, who entered the day three strokes back of the lead, was 2-over through the first seven holes of the day but birdied eight and nine to get back in it.

“I kind of got off to a shaky start but I reeled it in,” said Obecny, West Liberty’s head coach. “I chipped in on eight and hit a long put on nine for birdie so I had a little momentum going there.”

Obecny bogied No. 11 and had a birdie on 14 to finish the day at even par and the tournament at 3-under 213.

“I played solid, I made a lot of good shots, I just got off to a shaky start and that’s kind of what kept me from making a run,” Obecny said. “I gave myself a chance on the back nine to make little runs but it just didn’t happen. The course was tough (Friday) and Christian played really well. I had a solid week, I just got beat.”

The third-place finish comes two years after Obecny finished as the runner-up at the 2020 WV Open.

“It’s always good to be at the top and have that feeling that you have a chance to win,” he said. “That’s why I play, to win golf tournaments. I’m not going down there to just show up and play golf, I want to win.”

Obecny said one of the best things he did this week was never pressing or feeling like he had to make certain shots.

“If you start doing that, that’s kind of when you make bogeys and doubles and you finish in 15th place when you should’ve finished second or third,” Obecny said.

“I did all I could this week, I just got beat. (Brand) played great and Dave played really good, my start (Friday) held me back.”

Obecny was one of several Ohio Valley locals who made the cut and played in Friday’s final round. The next highest local finisher was, ironically, someone Obecny coached the last two years in recent WLU grad Howie Peterson IV.

Playing in his fifth WV Open, Peterson finished in a tie for sixth place at 3-over 219. His previous best finish was tied for 11th in 2018.

“I was hitting it well, I was playing well so I didn’t really look at the standings too much and think about that,” Peterson said. “I just knew that if I kept doing what I was doing I could finish well.”

The former Madonna Blue Don shot 1-over 73 Friday.

Peterson said he went into the WV Open without any real expectations, but was feeling good after winning the Bordas & Bordas Amateur Classic earlier this month.

“I had been playing well coming in but I didn’t really have any expectations,” he said. “I knew I was hitting it well and if I could just keep it in play, then I could do really good in the tournament.”

Peterson had three consecutive bogeys on the front nine, but recovered with two birdies on the back.

“He played really good this week,” Obecny said of his former pupil. “He came down here and really showed what he had. He’s a really good player, I’m not surprised he had a really good week.”

Obecny will not take much time off as he plans to play in the Frank Fuhrer Invitational in Pittsburgh on Monday. Peterson’s next tournament will be a US Amateur Championship Qualifier sometime next month.

Brooke grad Ryan Bilby finished in a tie for 19th at 9-over 225. He shot 7-over 79 Friday.

Bryan Meyers and Jacob Nickell both finished 10-over 226 in a tie for 22nd. Right behind them was Yadhu Urs at 11-over 227 in a tie for 24th. Urs shot 1-over 73 Friday with three birdies on the back nine.

The final local in the tournament was JP Cochran, who finished 17-over 233 in a tie for 37th.

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