Patriots’ Zach Redmon ready for his first W.Va. Open
PARKERSBURG — Back in 2004 an amateur golfer by the name of David Bradshaw shocked the Mountain State by winning the West Virginia Open.
When the 86th edition of the tournament gets underway on Wednesday morning in Vienna at Parkersburg Country Club, Bradshaw will be out for a four-peat and his 11th overall championship.
Although no one is expecting Parkersburg South senior-to-be Zach Redmon to be atop the leaderboard, the Class AAA all-state golfer last year for the Patriots of head coach BJ Hess sure is glad he at least has a shot.
A week ago Saturday at Riverside Golf Club in Mason, Redmon narrowly missed qualifying for the W.Va. Open by a single stroke. However, there was still the possibility of winning one of the alternate spots.
“I was in a playoff for first alternate and I won the playoff and then I got the call Wednesday that said I was in,” Redmon explained. “It was pretty crazy.
“It was kind of cloudy and just raining the whole day. It was raining in the playoffs. After the first hole I got to go back to the clubhouse. I don’t know who got the second alternate.”
Redmon is making his first appearance at the W.Va. Open and he’ll tee off at 8:20 a.m. on No. 10 along with former Parkersburg Big Red and Marshall University golfer Isaac Prine as well as Mitch Roush.
“That will be good for him,” said Prine, who is making his fourth straight appearance.
“Hopefully he plays well and gets some confidence going into the fall.”
One person who is pretty confident in Redmon is his swing coach Kenny Hess.
“We figured out the problem with his driver,” Kenny Hess stated. “If he hits the driver like he’s capable of hitting it and not be afraid of the greens rolling at a 12.5 to 13 with my brother on the bag, hitting smart golf shots I could see him shooting in the upper 70s both days.
“He could go out and shoot 10-over and make the cut. I’d love to see that because for his own mindset he needs that. He’s confident in himself, but he needs to be confident going into his high school senior year.”
Redmon said his dad broke the news to him on Wednesday after Chris Slack of the W.Va. Golf Association put out the alternates who were getting in.
“To be honest, I was talking to Slack (at Riverside) and they always take around seven alternates for the whole tournament,” Redmon said. “He said I was in pretty good shape.
“I had a pretty good idea I was going to be in. It was pretty nice, especially since it’s my first (W.Va.) Open and close to home.”
Redmon wasn’t the only local to make entry via the alternate route. Former PHS Big Red Alan Cooke, who finished in a five-way tie for third back in 2015 and was ninth in 2017, did the same.
“To be honest, I don’t really have that much experience there,” Redmon continued. “I play there against PHS time to time, but the City Cup last year was at South Hills.
“I played there (PCC) two times last year. They have some crazy, crazy fast greens and it’s going to take some time getting used to it, especially coming from Woodridge and South Hills to there. It’s a big difference.”
Every golfer in the field has the option of playing a practice round on Tuesday, but Redmon was out at PCC last week trying to get familiar with the course.
“To be honest, I haven’t really ever played very good there,” admitted Redmon. “The rough is so thick and tall. I’m trying to keep the ball down the fairway for the most part.”
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of golf is the mental game, which is something Redmon has learned to develop as he’s matured.
“I really never thought I was good enough,” Redmon said of making a W.Va. Open appearance. “At the start of last summer I wasn’t playing very well. I’ve been practicing my butt off and last season I made states and played pretty good at states.
“I just tried to carry that on from last year to this year. I knew with the weather conditions (at Riverside) if I could shoot something (decent) I’d have a shot.”
Although Kenny Hess is one of the local favorites, Redmon will have Kenny’s brother and his prep coach BJ on his bag for at least two days and hopefully all three.
“First of all, it’s a great experience,” Redmon added of the opportunity. “I think it honestly helps a little bit because I’m a no-name. There’s not really much pressure. I can go out and be aggressive and play my game and just try to make putts and hopefully get a top 40 or something.
“The golf course is going to be playing tough and long and I know I can’t hit 4 irons off the tee like I did at the qualifier. I’ll have to hit my driver well and my 3-wood well and keep it in the fairway pretty much.”