DANIELS — For all of the things Pat Carter has accomplished in the world of golf, especially in the state of West Virginia, there is one glaring hole in his resume.
Despite a few runner-up finishes, Carter has never won the West Virginia Open. Yet now, at age 52, Carter is again within reach as he sits just four shots back of leader Thadd Obecny going into Thursday’s final round.
Carter shook off a rough start to Wednesday’s second round with bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11, his first and second holes, to card a round of 1-over-par 73 at the 87th edition of the Open held on the Cobb Course at the Resort at Glade Springs.
This month, the Marshall Hall of Famer claimed his first Open title as he won the Senior Open for the first time. With 13 West Virginia Amateur wins, seven Mid-Amateur championships and a slew of other titles, Carter is certainly one of the most decorated players in the history of golf in the state.
But now, this close yet again to the one that’s managed to elude him all these years, Carter admits the desire to claim a West Virginia Open burns as brightly as ever.
“Obviously it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time but you can want something and it may never happen,” Carter said. “You look at [Phil] Mickelson in the [United States] Open, I think he’s been six times as a runner-up and I think I’ve I’ve been four times runner-up in this. I’m just going to go out and try to have fun tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll be too far behind.”
Despite a few hiccups on day two, Carter has been as steady as nearly anyone in the field, and as time progresses, he knows opportunities such as this will run out. With two rounds in the books, Carter said he couldn’t be happier with his positioning heading into the final day.
“If you’d have said I’d be here at the start of the tournament then I would’ve just bypassed the first two rounds,” Carter said. “It could have been a couple shots better and it could’ve been a couple of shots worse today, so I’m certainly not terribly disappointed with 74.”
Sam O’Dell, a four-time champion of the West Virginia Open, couldn’t have been much happier with his ball striking on Wednesday.
But from the fifth hole on, he was playing a club short and it was one of the most important clubs in the bag.
O’Dell jabbed his putter into the ground on the 14th green, his fifth hole, and it snapped, leaving him to putt the rest of the day with a 3-iron and a 60-degree wedge.
It led to a long day on the greens and some missed opportunities that he may have otherwise cashed in on. He settled for a round of 5-over 77 and sits at 4 over par for the tournament, seven back of Obecny.
“I did good with what I had and I hit it way better today than I did [Tuesday],” O’Dell said. “I can’t imagine I would’ve shot above 70.
“It just disintegrated and it surprised us all, I literally just jabbed it, but it’s what I get, I guess. But hopefully I can go real low tomorrow, it’s just a shame.”
As for the toughness of the Cobb Course on Wednesday, there are certainly numbers to back it up.
Only four players shot rounds under par in the second round with Obecny, Jess Ferrell and David Scragg all shooting 2 under and Will Evans coming in at 1 under.
Also, when the Open was last at the Resort at Glade Springs just two years ago, the cut line was 152. This year, it came in at 156, four shots higher.
An impressive streak came to a halt on Wednesday.
Mason’s Ty Roush missed the cut after going 13 over through the first two rounds. The cut line fell at 156 (12 over).
Roush had made 38 consecutive cuts at the West Virginia Open prior to this year.
Craig Berner, the 2005 winner of the West Virginia Open and the pro at Edgewood Country Club, withdrew prior to Wednesday’s second round with an illness. Berner shot an 8-over-par 80 in the first round on Tuesday.