CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- David Bradshaw and Christian Brand are busy chasing their dream of playing on the PGA Tour.
The West Virginia natives, though, always make time to return to their home state and renew old acquaintances when the West Virginia Open rolls around.
Bradshaw and Brand will be two of the favorites when the 80th edition tees off Wednesday at Parkersburg Country Club, which is hosting the event for the first time since 1983.
"I love coming back to the Open," said Bradshaw. "It's like a big family reunion. It's more than a golf tournament. I go to these mini-tour events and it's very cutthroat. We're all trying to earn a living and get on the PGA Tour. Everybody's really nice [at the Open]. They're asking you how you're doing and how you've been. You get to catch up with everybody."
"I'm excited to see Parkersburg County Club, what the course looks like from what I remember," added Brand, who cut his teeth on the West Virginia Golf Association's junior tour. "I haven't been there in probably eight or 10 years. I'm just looking for a great week. I travel so much now I don't get a chance to see the guys from the WVGA. It'll be nice."
Bradshaw and Brand tied for second at last year's Open at Edgewood Country Club in Sissonville as Jonathan Clark, the pro at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, won his second championship.
Clark isn't defending his title this year and instead will be playing in the 46th PGA Professional National Championship June 23-26 at Sunriver Resort near Bend, Ore. Barry Evans, the Berry Hills Country Club pro who won the Open in 2008, also opted for the PGA Pro National Championship, which he won in 2002.
Another top player who will be missing the Open is Pat Carter, the reigning West Virginia Amateur champion who withdrew Sunday because of an eye injury.
Brand has been plying his trade on the Carolinas-based eGolf Professional Tour and NGA Pro Golf Tour recently. He doesn't have any wins, but has finished in the top 10 on several occasions.
"I feel like I've been playing pretty well," said the former Capital High School and Marshall standout. "My game has been rounding into shape and getting better recently. I spent the winter in Florida and been playing pretty much two or three tournaments a month since I've been back."
Brand, who broke through by winning the 2011 West Virginia Amateur, has consecutive runner-up finishes at the Open. He earned an exemption with his Amateur championship into that year's Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour event.
"I just want to add it to the resume," he said of capturing the Open. "No expectations. I'm just going out there to try and play my best golf and if I do that everything will fall into place."
Bradshaw won his last mini-tour event in California, and this past week was two strokes off the lead in an eGolf event near Charlottesville, Va.
"I'm playing as good as I've ever played in my life," said the Bakerton native, who has won six of the last nine Opens. "I've had some really solid scores. I'd say the last eight of my nine competitive rounds I've broken 70.