Imagine this golf scene.
You’re 15 years old and you’re butting driver and putter against the likes of Brad Westfall, Pat Carter and the rest of the state’s top professional and amateur players.
Christian Brand played lead role in that scene just three years ago.
As a mere freshman at Capital High School, Brand qualified for the West Virginia Open.
Brand will be back in this year’s Open, which begins Wednesday at The Resort at Glade Springs’ Cobb Course.
“It’s intimidating,” Brand said of the experience. “You show up for a practice round and there’s Pat Carter, Jonathan Clark ... all those guys. You watch them on the practice range and it’s really intimidating.”
He didn’t finish in the top half but he says he felt he more than held his own.
“I was just a young kid then, going up against those guys, so I knew it would be tough, but I feel like I did (hold my own),” he said.
He has already put together a nice resume for being just 18.
Brand won the state high school championship as a senior at Capital High in Charleston in the fall and won the West Virginia Junior Amateur. He was trying to become the second player to have a “Tiger Slam” of sorts by holding the high school, Amateur and Match Play championship at the same time — Glenville’s Anthony Reale did it last year. But he fell in the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship at The Greenbrier.
He said the prep title remains his favorite to date.
“I went out on top, the best I could do,” Brand said. “And it was more the way I did it, too. I was tied for the lead, then I made double-bogey on No. 16 and I was two shots back. But I was able to win. Just being able to turn it on, at that point, was probably the crowning moment of my career.”
Brand remains the youngest player to qualify for the prestigious golf event.
“To have that record, to know that until somebody younger comes along, I was the one who did it, that’s special,” Brand said.
Not bad for someone who started playing golf at age 13.
“These guys in my grade, they had been playing golf,” Brand said. “One day, they said they were going to play, did I want to go? I grabbed my dad’s clubs and went out and played. The next day I went out and bought some of their old clubs and I’ve just never stopped playing.”
Brand will be paired with Carter and Clark for the first two rounds of the Open this year.
“I feel like I’ve put as much work into it as anybody,” Brand said. “I’m ready to see if I can go out here and beat one of these guys.”
— E-mail: demorrison@
Brand name on the state Open
- By Dave Morrison
Imagine this golf scene.
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