The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

June 10, 2014

Classic spot up for grabs at West Virginia Amateur

95th event kicks off today on Old White TPC course

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — In less than a month, names like Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Webb Simpson and Tom Watson will take to The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs competing for the $1,170,000 winner’s share at The Greenbrier Classic July 3-6.

Over the next four days, names like Sam O’Dell, Pat Carter, Patrick Guills, Landon Perry, Derek Brooks, Michael Mays and Nick Dent will be looking to punch their ticket to join those PGA Tour stars.

An exemption into The Greenbrier Classic field will be up for grabs over the next four days as 100 of West Virginia’s top amateur golfers compete in the 95th West Virginia Amateur at The Greenbrier.

Seventy-one players qualified for the tournament by virtue of their play at six different qualifying sites in Hurricane, Lewisburg, Charles Town, Bridgeport, Beckley and Ravenswood. The other 29 players earned exemptions from their finishes in last year’s event (top 15) or by winning other major West Virginia Golf Association events such as the junior match play championship or the senior amateur championship.

After practice rounds and a players’ banquet on Monday, tournament rounds will begin this morning at 8 a.m. with the first tee times on The Old White TPC. Wednesday’s second round will be played on the Meadows Course at The Greenbrier, and the field will be cut to the low 40 and ties for the final two rounds.

Round No. 3 will be back on the Meadows Course, with the competitors returning to The Old White TPC for the final round on Friday.

Hurricane’s O’Dell is the defending champion. He won last year to capture the event for the first time — after seven top 10 finishes in the past — but a change in the scheduling prevented O’Dell from receiving The Greenbrier Classic exemption. So he’ll surely be hungry this year, looking to get that chance at playing with the pros. He posted a 5-under-par 279 for the tournament last year, winning by six shots.

Carter, a 13-time champion, will be a threat again this year, after skipping the Amateur in 2013. Last year’s runners-up, Brian Anania and Woody Woodward, will also be back in the field looking to win for the first time.

Hoping to see a local golfer in The Greenbrier Classic? The best hopes may be with Dent, Josh Boswell, Brooks or Evan Muscari.

Dent, a White Sulphur Springs native who has played The Greenbrier courses nearly all his life, is the golf coach at Bluefield State College after recently finishing a strong playing career there. He finished fourth in last year’s Amateur.

Boswell, an Alderson native, played collegiately at Marshall. He tied for 15th last year.

Mullens’ Brooks, the son of former WVU basketball star Herbie Brooks, has been in contention in the past and has fired some great rounds on The Greenbrier’s courses during his amateur career.

Muscari, a Pineville native, recently finished his college career at Concord. He won three events as a senior and was named a first-team All-Mountain East Conference selection.

Other local players in the 100-man field include Nathaniel Begley (Oak Hill), Mays (Beckley), Patrick Terry (Princeton), Guills (Lewisburg), Hunter Owens (Oceana), Perry (Shady Spring), Brandon Waters (Summersville), John Handy (Beckley), Blake Davis (White Sulphur Springs), Philip Zambos (White Sulphur Springs), Jeff McGraw (Princeton), Andrew Green (Beaver) and Justin Windon (Lewisburg).

Supporters are encouraged to come watch the event free of charge all four days.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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