The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 31, 2012

Roush leads after 1, but Carter is lurking

12-time former Amateur champ trails by 2 strokes

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — If you listen close enough, you’ll likely hear the theme song from “Jaws” echoing through the pines and inside the springhouse at The Greenbrier resort.

Twelve-time West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter is lurking again, two shots back at the 93rd playing of the event, which began Monday on The Greenbrier course of the historic resort.

Carter shot a 1-under-par 71 on the opening day, erasing three bogeys with four birdies to sit in a tie for third with Winfield High School’s Chris Williams and West Liberty University golfer Joey Seabright, a Wheeling native.

Bridgeport native Jay Woodward, a member of the Penn State golf team, is alone in second at 2-under, while Mason resident Trent Roush leads the field after a 3-under 69.

“I didn’t realize I’d played that well,” said Roush, whose family owns Riverside Golf Club in Mason. “I thought there were some more scoring opportunities out there.”

Roush’s front nine included just one bogey and four birdies, including one on the par-4 sixth hole — the most difficult of the day, yielding just four birdies, compared to 67 bogeys or higher.

On the back, the former Glenville State golfer, who first played in the West Virginia Amateur as a 16-year-old in 1999, started with a birdie on the par-3 11th. He bogeyed the par-5 12th but rebounded with a birdie on 14.

The one hole he’d like back is the par-3 17th, where he found the water and made double-bogey.

But he immediately came back with a birdie on 18 to set the pace for the rest of the field.

“It was a very difficult set-up,” said Roush, who has finished in the top 10 of the last four West Virginia Amateurs. “There’s a lot of risk-reward.”

Woodward started fast, going 2-under after four holes, but he came back to even with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10.

Birdies on 12 and 14, though, brought him back to red numbers with a 70.

Seabright birdied three of the last five holes for his 71, and Williams, one of the large contingent of junior golfers in the field, rallied late with a pair of birdies on the final nine to find his way into the three-way tie.

But all eyes are on Carter, who last won the West Virginia Amateur in 2006, after a run of 10 straight from 1995 until 2004.

“The course played tough,” said the Huntington native, a longtime volunteer assistant at Marshall. “The greens were firm, and there were a lot of tough pin placements. I hit a few wayward shots and got away with them.”

Carter finished the front nine at even-par, following both of his birdies — on Nos. 3 and 8 — with bogeys on the next hole.

He got back under par with a birdie on the par-5 12th, gave it back with a bogey on 15 but found a rare birdie on 17 to finish his round with a bang.

“That’s kind of been my nemesis in past (West Virginia Amateurs),” said Carter of the 144-yard par-3. “So I’m pretty happy with 71. It’s going to be a tough test with 54 more holes. Anytime you can get it under par, no matter how you hit the ball, it’s always a good score.

“It doesn’t get any easier on the Old White.”

Play today will, in fact, move to the Old White TPC, which hosted the PGA TOUR FedEx Cup Greenbrier Classic earlier this month. Wednesday’s third round will be back on The Greenbrier Course, with Thursday’s final 18 holes back on the Old White TPC.

“It’s going to be a lot longer,” said Carter of the difference in the two courses. “The greens are much firmer, and it will be a grind from start to finish. There are no easy holes on that golf course anymore.

“We’re happy to be playing it, though. It’s nice to play on a course where a TOUR event is played.”

West Virginia Amateur officials said the course will be very similar to the one the professionals played when Ted Potter Jr. captured the third Greenbrier Classic on July 8. The course will play at 7,084 yards, doubly difficult because of the recent rain that has slowed the fairways.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some high scores,” said Carter. “With the speed of the greens and the length of the course, it’s going to play tough.”

That’s why Carter feels he’s in position to make a run, and why the three golfers in front of him will be looking over their shoulders.

“Any tournament you can shoot your way out of,” he said. “But you can’t win it until you putt out on the last hole.”

Today’s second round will begin at 8 a.m. All compzetitors will tee off on No. 1, with the final grouping of Roush, Woodward and Williams teeing off at 1:15 p.m. Seabright, Carter and Wheeling Park High School junior Thadd Obecny II, who shot an even-par 72 Monday, will begin their rounds at 1:06 p.m.

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