Having gotten a taste of golf on the big stage, Christian Brand is pursuing the dream of playing professionally.
Brand, the Capital High and Marshall University graduate, said he is officially turning pro May 1. His first professional tournament will be in South Carolina, and he plans a run at the PGA Tour's "Q School."
The 2010 West Virginia Amateur champion played last summer in The Greenbrier Classic, the second-year PGA Tour event. He did not make the cut, but did beat two pros and tied two others, including Rocco Mediate.
Brand had played The Greenbrier resort's Old White course many times, but not quite in such an atmosphere.
"Everybody treated me well. The media was outrageous," he said. "It was nice to see the crowd the first and second day. You really felt the support from all the West Virginians and the crowd. On the first tee there were about 10,000 people there. It was insane, to say the least."
Brand wrapped up his Marshall career in 2011, finishing with a stroke average of 73.74, a record under four-decade coach Joe Feaganes. He tied for 11th at the Conference USA championships and was invited to the NCAA regional as an individual.
He is one of many West Virginians to play for Feaganes, but not necessarily the most hyped coming out of high school.
"I didn't even try to recruit Christian, and he came as a walk-on," Feaganes said. "After his first round, I decided I was going to put him on scholarship that next semester. I think he shot a 66 the first round, down at the Pinehurst golf tournament. He had a great career."