The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 2, 2012

DOWN TO THE WIRE

Rogers, Carter and Woodward tied atop W.Va. Amateur leaderboard

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — With a three-way tie at the top and 12 players within seven shots of the lead, today’s final round at the 93rd West Virginia Amateur should certainly be an entertaining one.

Marshall University golfer Jeremy Rogers, his assistant coach, 12-time West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter and Penn State golfer Jay Woodward are all 1-over-par after Wednesday’s third round on The Greenbrier Resort’s Greenbrier Course with 18 holes on The Old White TPC course left to play.

Woodward, who began the third round tied with Winston Canada for the lead — 15 golfers finished up their second rounds early Wednesday before the start of third-round play — found a birdie on the final hole to move into the top group.

The Bridgeport native hit a long drive down the middle on the par-5 18th hole and then landed his second shot in the bunker to the right of the green.

His blast out of the hazard nearly found the bottom of the cup for eagle, but he settled for a tap-in for birdie and a share of the lead.

“I felt like I did everything well,” Woodward said of his even-par round of 72, which included four birdies, two bogeys and an early double-bogey.

“Anytime you’re even, you can’t complain. I left a few out there, but that happens every round.”

Rogers, who started the round two shots behind the leaders, got to the top with a 2-under-par 70, that included four birdies and a pair of bogeys, his best round of the tournament.

Carter, who was just one shot back after the second round, played his normal, consistent golf to card a 1-under 71. He had six birdies on the round, but five bogeys kept him from finding any breathing room.

“It was either the outhouse or the penthouse,” said Carter. “But I putted extremely well and made a couple good saves. Those are the things that keep a round going.

“When you play a 72-hole tournament, you know you’re never out of it,” he continued, explaining of his even-keel approach. “That’s usually a pretty good formula.”

Carter said he entered this year’s West Virginia Amateur with few expectations, after playing only two rounds of golf in July.

“Experience is great, but you still have to know where your game is,” he joked. “I had no idea where I was going to be hitting it.”

For most of the day Wednesday, it looked as though Oak Hill’s Canada was going to be in the lead group, if not in front by himself. He stepped onto the 17th tee in a tie with Carter at 1-over for the tournament, but the 160-yard par 3 changed the complexion of his round.

His tee shot missed to the right of the green and short, finding the water on the bounce.

The former Red Devil, who now lives in Beckley, took a drop for his second shot, and his third from the rough didn’t reach the green.

He finally found the putting surface on his fourth shot, but it rolled past the pin and left him about seven feet coming back. Canada missed that putt to the left and carded a triple-bogey six to move to 4-over for the tournament.

“That number was just ridiculous,” he said.

Canada was able to make birdie on the par-5 18th, despite hitting his tee shot well left of the fairway, and he finished the day with a 74. He’s 3-over for the tournament, alone in fourth place, two shots behind the lead group.

“It felt a lot worse than that,” said Canada of his round. “I was hitting it everywhere. It was probably the worst ball-striking round I’ve had in three years. I’m glad it’s over.”

After shooting a 67 on The Old White TPC on Tuesday, though — one of just two scores under par on the day and two shots better than any other competitor — he believes he’s still in good position to make a run at the title.

“I just can’t hit it like I did (Wednesday),” he said. “But I think it’s out there.”

Another player who got himself in the mix was Marshall’s Brian Anania, a Hurricane native. He shot the low round of the day, and the tournament, with a 66 Wednesday. He carded a pair of eagles and four birdies to overcome a pair of bogies on Nos. 4 and 16.

“I just got hot with the putter,” said Anania, who qualified for the U.S. Amateur by winning a playoff in a 41-player qualifier last week. He said his first eagle on the 551-yard par-5 fifth gave him a huge kick start to the round.

It was a big turnaround after starting the tournament with a 6-over 78 on the same Greenbrier Course Monday.

“The first round, I hit two fairways, and they were both irons,” he said. “I played from places I’ve never seen on this course.

“But (Wednesday) was much better. Now, I just have to try to post another one.”

Today’s final round will be played back on The Old White TPC, the sight of the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic. Tee times today begin at 8 a.m., with the final grouping of Rogers, Woodward and Carter teeing off at 9:48 a.m.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com

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