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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The loudest round of applause this week did not come for champion Philip Reale.

And Reale was completely fine with that.

Instead, that applause was for Huntington’s Steve Fox as he finished up play at his 54th and final W.Va. Amateur.

As Fox came to the 18th green on Wednesday, there was a loud ovation for a guy who has spent more than a half-century competing in state events while helping to expand the game within the Mountain State.

The 67-year-old Fox said it was the culmination of a humbling final week of memories at The Greenbrier.

“Just having that much support and that many people who are my friends that thought enough to come or stick around, it meant the world to me,” Fox said. “I’m not deserving of that, that’s for sure. For them to be there and support me and be there at the end just meant the world.”

Philip Reale, who won the 102nd W.Va. Amateur on Wednesday, took time out to voice his appreciation for Fox’s friendship and his longevity within the state’s top events.

“He’s been a mainstay in the golf association for years and years and years,” Reale said. “Fifty-four Ams — that’s pretty impressive on its own. You’re not going to find a better guy or a better ambassador of the game. We’re going to miss him playing in these. The fact that he’s out here at 67, will be turning 68 and is still hanging with everybody is amazing in and of itself.”

Fox shot a 6-over 76 on Wednesday to finish the tournament tied for 30{sup}th{/sup}.

“My goal was to make the cut and I was able to do that, so I could play all four days,” Fox said.

His tournament started with an Even-par 70 that had him near the top of the leaderboard, but he said the scoring or position wasn’t what was important to him about this week.

“The biggest thing was that my family was there Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,” Fox said. “Having them there with me to share in my last tournament meant a lot — my three kids and their husbands and my brother and sister and my wife, who I met 47 or 48 years ago at The Greenbrier. That was obviously the highlight.”

Fox said the emotions of the week hit hard over the last few holes as he walked down Old White for the final times in competition for the W.Va. Amateur.

“I knew it would be a real emotional day for me,” Fox said. “I look back and 54 years flew by. I’ve got tremendous memories of the tournament, tremendous memories about The Greenbrier and developed great friendships over the years. Really, I’ll miss those things a lot more than I’ll miss the golf.

“I couldn’t have written a better ending to 54 wonderful years at The Greenbrier.”

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Strong finishes are quickly becoming a Kalaskey family tradition in the West Virginia Golf Association ranks.

Joseph Kalaskey, a Marshall golfer and Charleston native, finished the tournament at Even par, which was good enough to finish third.

His sister, Torren Kalaskey, also scored a third-place finish earlier this year in the W.Va. Women’s Am.

The beauty of the brother-sister duo is that when one was competing, the other was on the bag caddying and helping to pave the way for the strong finish.

“It’s pretty cool because she finished third in the Women’s Am, and I guess we finished third here,” Joseph Kalaskey said. “I caddied for her in her tournament and she caddied for me and I had my Dad and my Mom watching, so it was fun.”

Joseph said that Torren has helped him grow within the game, as well.

“It’s a little competitive, but we both know our strengths and she helps me read greens a little bit,” Joseph Kalaskey said.

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There were only three rounds that finished below par on Wednesday and one belonged to Huntington’s Pat Carter.

Carter shot a 1-under 69, which tied him with second-place finisher Hutson Chandler for the second-lowest round of the day.

Reale took top honors with a 5-under 65.

Carter’s round helped him secure the honors of Low Senior after finishing 13th in the tournament.

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Low Junior honors went to Daniels native Todd Duncan, who finished tied for 27{sup}th{/sup} after a 5-over 75 on Wednesday.

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In addition to Fox’s exit from the W.Va. Amateur, the WVGA said goodbye to one of its own employees following Wednesday’s round.

Cory Hoshor, the WVGA’s director of operations, is leaving after six years with the organization.

Hoshor was honored by WVGA executive director Brad Ullman during the trophy presentation.

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