HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. -When David Bradshaw is on the road playing professional golf, he feels a certain pride about his West Virginia background.
"On tour, there are these enormous scoreboards where it describes about me being a six-time winner of the West Virginia Open -that's way cooler than winning a mini-tour event," Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw is a native of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., who has been competing as a professional golfer since January 2006. Starting Wednesday at Parkersburg Country Club in Vienna, he will be seeking his seventh West Virginia Open championship and first since winning three in a row from 2009-11. He also has titles stemming from 2004, 2006-07.
Hitting the ball from tee to green has rarely been an issue for Bradshaw. Rather, it is the putter which has given him fits until a recent surge the past month and a half.
"Putting well is a new thing for me," Bradshaw said. "In all the West Virginia Opens I've won, I've never putted well."
At a young age, Bradshaw enjoyed success playing tennis. It was an interest shared with his parents and his older brother, Chris. But about the time Chris Bradshaw gained an interest in golf, so did his younger brother.
"I had to shadow him," David said.
Golf was a natural fit for David Bradshaw. In his first golf tournament at the age of 14, he won his first tournament after shooting an 81. His quest for a second title occurred the following year when he carded a 69 and won by 13 strokes.
"It took about a year and a half or two to break par - that was about as natural as it gets," Bradshaw said.
After his career at Jefferson High School came to a close with his graduation in 2001, Bradshaw attended Shepherd University and was a member of the men's golf team for three seasons.
Almost immediately after he received his bachelor's degree, he turned pro. During the past seven-plus years, Bradshaw qualified for five Web.com events and three PGA Tour events. Each time, he has failed to make the cut.
This past March, Bradshaw joined current PGA Tour professionals at the Tampa Bay Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. He shot rounds of 74 and 77 and missed the cut by seven strokes.
Mini-tour events usually fill his itinerary.
"Basically, I'm a professional gambler playing a lot of golf tournaments," Bradshaw said. "It's pretty intense, but I enjoy it.
"This year, I'm getting slightly better and better. I'm not where I would like to be - I would love to be playing on the PGA Tour week in and week out. In another year or two, I definitely want my game at that level."
As for what awaits the 30-year-old later this week when the West Virginia Open kicks off on Wednesday, Bradshaw will attack a course he only met for the first time last month during West Virginia Open Media Day.
He'll have a better feel because of today's Coca-Cola Shootout, Monday's pro-am and Tuesday's practice round.
"Hands down, winning this tournament six times is the highlight of my career," Bradshaw said. "On the mini-tour, there is no history book. You win this event and your name is immortalized and sits on a trophy."