Davis, Friend can keep pace with youngsters

VIENNA -Competitive golf is said to be a young man’s game.

But somebody forgot to tell that to Scott Davis and Bob Friend, who both shot two-under par 70 during the opening round of the 80th W.Va. Open at the Parkersburg Country Club on Wednesday. As a result, at the end of the first day of play, they are just one stroke off the lead, shared by David Bradshaw and Ian Patrick.

Davis, a 57-year-old Hurricane resident who was a former pro at the Scarlet Oaks and Edgewood country clubs, carded four birdies to go with a pair of bogeys.

“It’s nice to be able to compete with the great players,” said Davis, a four-time West Virginia Open champion who takes pride in being competitive despite being considered a senior golfer.

Davis recorded a pair of deuces on par 3 holes.

“I felt really good,” said Davis, who praised the conditions at the Parkersburg Country Club, which is conducting the Open for the first time in 30 years.

“The balls plugged on some of the fairways,” he said, “but hitting into the greens were nice. The course played long and tough.”

Davis has retired as a club pro but still does a little teaching on the side and keeps sharp by playing seven months per year on the Tri-State circuit.

Friend, the director of golf at Pikewood National Golf Club in Morgantown, is Davis’ junior by eight years. He won’t officially be a senior golfer until he turns 50 in December.

He excelled on the par 5s Wednesday, playing them in three under.

Friend was 1-under going to 18 and closed out his round with a birdie, gaining back the stroke he had given away two holes earlier.

Friend, who wasn’t familiar with the PCC layout, was pleasantly surprised by the course.

“It’s old school,” he said. “Being from western Pennsylvania and working in Morgantown, I wasn’t expecting to see a flat course with a lot of trees.”

Friend was impressed with the condition of the greens, especially after all the water the course incurred earlier in the week. Friend said when he first arrived in town, the No. 18 green resembled a lake. But, by Wednesday, the greens were fast.

“My hats off off to the superintendent and the rest of his crew,” he said.

Friend, an accomplished golfer who still is seeking his first West Virginia Open championship, was paired in a rather interesting threesome along with four-time champion Harold Payne and Parkersburg High School sophomore Austin Davis, who qualified as an alternate and made the field when Pat Carter, a 13-time State Amateur champion, was forced to withdraw due to an eye injury.

Friend, the son of former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and four-time all-star Bob Friend, said he always views all of his fellow golfers as competitors and treats them with respect.

“It doesn’t matter if its Scott Davis, Austin Davis or Davis Love III,” said Friend, who at various times during his career has played on the Ben Hogan Tour, the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour. He finished in a tie atop the leaderboard at the 1998 Bell Canadian Open, losing in a playoff to Billy Andrade.

Friend wasn’t the only Pikewood employee to excel on Wednesday. He and Davis were joined at even par 70 by the club’s professional, Christopher McGinnis.