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Pro-Am kicks off busy week at Pete Dye

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- In a field which included a collection of the state's top amateurs and professionals, Nitro's David Lawrence came up with his biggest shot of the day at the most pressure-filled time.

Lawrence dropped a chip shot within three feet of the hole on No. 18 at the Pete Dye Golf Club to win the Coca-Cola Nine Hole Shootoff, part of the day's action at the West Virginia Pro-Am.

The shot came during a two-man "chip-off" between Lawrence and Morgantown's Brad Westfall.

Westfall, the club pro at the Pines in Morgantown, appeared to have the winning shot when his ball stopped within three feet of the cup. However, Lawrence followed with his chip and was declared the winner by mere inches by West Virginia Golf Association Executive Director Danny Fisher.

The win was Lawrence's second consecutive 9-hole shootoff title. The event is made up of the top five amateurs and top five professionals in the state.

"I tell you what, that's a great way to finish," Lawrence said. "Brad hit a great shot, so I knew I had to come up with something.

"Even after I hit it, I wasn't sure, but I knew it was going to be close. All day I didn't really hit the ball that well, but it was probably the best I've chipped."

The event, which serves as a prelude to next week's West Virginia Open at Pete Dye, began with a five-team scramble.

The team of Brian Curkendall, Don Pullin, Cory Beasley and Greg Darby took first, shooting a 54. Pat Carter, the state's top amateur, served as the team's pro and carded a 78. The team of Dave Brock, Kurt Skasik, Mark Oliverio, Steve Heaster and Jim Bergan finished second at 58.

Mason's Ty Roush won the morning round, shooting a 70. He was followed by Westfall and Barry Evans at 71, while defending champion Scott Davis shot a 73.

Also highlighting the day was a hole-in-one, recorded by Gary Grandstaff on the par 3, 173-yard No. 7.

"I like the way I played today," Westfall said. "I really don't get to play here but once or twice a year, but I've always seemed to play pretty well here.

"I still think you have to consider (defending West Virginia Open champion) John Ross the (W.Va. Open favorite), but I'm pretty pleased with a 71."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.

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