By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
In its short history, The Greenbrier Classic has become one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR.
On Thursday, more than 100 professionals and amateurs hit the links at the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs, just in hopes of playing in the qualifying round of the event on Monday.
“To make it to Monday is a big deal,” golfer Garland Green said following his round. “Today was just play good enough to get to Monday. Monday is the day you’ve got to post the good score.”
Green, who shot a 71, was one of 51 hopefuls who advanced to Monday’s Greenbrier Classic qualifier on a wet and soggy Cobb Course. “Things started off a little sloppy at 7:30 a.m. when the first group teed off in the rain,” said tournament director David Wright. “It rained off and on until about 11:30 a.m., but the golf course held its own.”
One golfer who held his own was Jay McLuen, who is looking to make his second career PGA start, following last week’s Travelers Championship.
He finished second overall with a 66, just one stroke behind Grant Leaver.
“I made a couple putts early and then I kind of threw out the parachute. I didn’t want to make anymore,” McLuen said with a laugh. “You never want to shoot the lowest round in the pre-qualifier. I think it’s a curse.”
McLuen battled the rain, but birdied the 10, 11, 12 and 14 holes to hold the lead for much of the afternoon.
The Macon, Ga., native was to board a plan last night to fly home, before returning Sunday morning to prepare for the qualifier.
“You just go out and play,” he added. “You just go out and play. Only four are to make it and be excited to play. Nothing you can do. Nothing you can game plan.”
If McLuen does qualify on Monday, he hopes to be reunited with longtime friend Mark Silvers, who recently won The Big Break: Greenbrier.
“I’ve already talked to him about staying with him if I get in,” McLuen said. “I’m just going to chase the big dream.”
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While the weather made for good discussion, the talk of the golf course was 14-year old Chinese amateur Ze-cheng Dou.
Dou became the youngest player in history to make the cut for the China Open in May.
He finished tied for 16th in the pre-qualifier at 70.
Also making the cut were Christian Brand, a former Marshall standout from Charleston who finished tied for fourth with a 68 and 7-time W. Va. Open champion David Bradshaw, who hit 70.
Former Wyoming East Warrior Evan Muscari failed to make the cut, finishing 72nd, shooting 6 under par.
Brad Westfall, who has won the W.Va. Open Championship 5 times withdrew from the event.
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The 51 who made the cut will join a host of tour professionals Monday in hopes of qualifying for the Greenbrier Classic. The qualifying round will also take place at the Cobb Course. Tee times are yet to be determined.
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