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Carter still seeks 1st win in W.Va. Open

Jun. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Pat Carter is closing in on 30 West Virginia Golf Association tournament wins.

Not on that list of conquests, though, is the West Virginia Open. The insurance executive from Huntington gets another chance to add that championship to his collection this week when 120 pros and amateurs compete in the 80th State Open at Parkersburg Country Club.

"I hear about it," Carter said on Open media day. "I've played very well. I'm not disappointed with my (Open) career. This tournament is a grind. You have to be on top of your game for three rounds. I haven't put 54 holes together. No excuses."

The Open will have a new champion since 2012 winner Jonathan Clark has opted to play in the 46th PGA Professional National Championship, June 23-26, at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. Clark, general manager at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, will be joined in Oregon by Barry Evans, a former State Open winner and head pro at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston.

Carter has been so close in the State Open. In 2003, he lost a three-hole playoff to Brad Westfall at The Pines Country Club in Morgantown. In 2006, he tied for second at The Resort at Glade Springs and had the same outcome a year later at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown.

On the amateur side, Carter has compiled quite a list of accomplishments in and out of the Mountain State. He's won the West Virginia Amateur 13 times, two behind all-time leader Bill Campbell of Huntington, has 10 West Virginia Four-Ball titles and owns six West Virginia Mid-Amateur crowns. He's qualified for the U.S. Amateur 12 times. In 1991, he won the Hardman Award in 1991 as West Virginia's Amateur Athlete of the Year.

In early May, Carter and Julius Pollock of Wheeling were voted into the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Nov. 2.

"With that, it would be special to win the Open this year," Carter said.

Carter's 2012 State Am win got him the exemption into the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic set for July 1-7 at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. To prepare, Carter has played in numerous tournaments.

He won his singles match in the Virginias-West Virginia Team Matches in April.

He finished second in the Mid-Am, losing to Sam O'Dell, 3-and-2, in the finals.

With partner Steve Fox he came in second in the West Virginia Four-Ball Championship.

He and partner Jim Grimmett competed in the Olympia Fields Four-Ball in Chicago and Cascades Invitational Four-Ball Classic on the Cascades Course at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.

Carter's final tuneup was the 60th Sunnehanna Amateur which wraps up Sunday in Johnstown, Pa.

"I've got the chance to be polished," said Carter, who missed the State Open a year ago because of a business conflict. "Good swing thoughts, habits and avoid the hiccups. I have enough playing time. I hope it leads to some good golf."

The State Open returns to Parkersburg for the first time since 1983. The par-72 layout will measure more than 6,900 yards. One feature is five par-5 holes with four reachable in two. They are No. 3, 526 yards; No. 6, 509; No. 10, 539; and No. 18, 515. The par-5 13th stretches to 608 yards.

"There's still an advantage for the long hitters," Carter said. "The game is about getting the ball into the hole. This will be a nice test. I'm glad they've come back."

Several holes dogleg left, setting up for draws. "Typically that's the way I hit it," Carter said. "Put the ball in the fairway and that leads to opportunities to score. The short stick (putter) will determine it."

Carter, who played college golf at Marshall, is one of the best putters around. He used a belly putter at the 2012 State Am, but the USGA and R&A in May announced anchored putters would be outlawed come Jan. 1, 2016. He's also used a conventional putter.

"Whatever it takes to get the ball in the hole," he said.