VIENNA, W.Va. - David Bradshaw had a short chip shot to set up a birdie on Parkersburg Country Club's most inviting par-4 Thursday, and he chunked it.
He got a good roll on that seventh green (his 16th hole of the day), but he faced a 12-foot putt that was longer than those of his competitors, Christian Brand and Woody Woodward.
But Bradshaw, the six-time West Virginia Open champion, bowed up and buried that putt. Brand and Woodward missed their short ones.
In a nutshell, that's partly why the Jefferson County native is ahead by multiple shots in yet another Open.
Bradshaw's unexpected birdie helped him to his second 3-under-par 69 in a row, giving him a 6-under 138 and a three-shot lead over Woodward of Bridgeport. He has half the tournament's four sub-70 rounds.
The frightening thing, as the tournament concludes today, is that Bradshaw feels his game has been sloppy, with shaky ball-striking and sub-par putting. But his scrambling savvy has bailed him out, as it did on the 335-yard No. 7.
"That was a good one, especially going in," Bradshaw said. "I kind of hit a bad tee shot, hit a bad second shot, then made a really good putt. It's certainly nice to go to bed with that in your back pocket."
Woodward, headed to Wake Forest to continue his career, turned in the week's best round of 67. He rang up five birdies in a seven-hole stretch and suffered just one bogey, but would have loved that birdie on the seventh.
But every golfer leaves a few on the course.
"I actually struck the ball better yesterday than I did today," Woodward said, referring to a first-round 74. "Putted OK yesterday, didn't really make anything, but today I grinded and every opportunity I got out there, I took full advantage.
"Hit a bad drive on 4, got lucky and had a swing at it, made a birdie. It kind of carries you through your round when you do something like that. It was fun out there today."
Sam O'Dell almost had a lot of fun Thursday, starting his round off with three back-nine birdies (he began from No. 10). The Hurricane dentist was 4 under for the tournament, but bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5, and then had the craziest even-par finish you'll see on three holes.
He birdied on that drivable seventh hole, then pushed his tee shot way right on No. 8, a 431-yard hole ranked the hardest on the course. The shot ended somewhere high on a hillside below a roadway, and a search party combed terrain both bare and overgrown.
Someone found a ball that was the same brand and number O'Dell was playing, but O'Dell said that ball lacked his personal pen markings. Eventually, a 5-minute count expired and the ball was declared lost.