In just over a week's time, beginning July 30, some of the state's best golfers will tee it up at The Greenbrier, seeking a West Virginia Amateur golf title.
This year's tournament reaches a major milestone, as the West Virginia Golf Association's keystone event will be played for the 100th time.
In the 99 tournaments over the course of 106 years, the competition has been through venue and format changes and has seen some of the legends of West Virginia golf come and go.
Following is part one of a timeline highlighting some of the West Virginia Amateur's biggest moments.
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1913: The first West Virginia Amateur was held at Fairmont Field Club and was won by Julius Pollock Jr., a 28-year-old from Wheeling. Pollock defeated Harold Bloch 7 and 5 and would go on to become the first dominant champion of the event, winning nine titles with the last coming in 1931. Up until 1966, the West Virginia Amateur was decided in match-play finals after two qualifying rounds of stroke play.
1916: Wheeling's George Hewitt defeated Pollock 7 and 6, becoming the event's second champion after Pollock swept the first three Amateurs. More importantly, the event made its first stop in White Sulphur Springs, which has served as the tournament's home for all but four years after 1919. Early, the tournament also made stops at Wheeling Country Club and Parkersburg Country Club, which along with Fairmont, were among the founding clubs of the WVGA. There would be no tournament the following year due to World War I.
1923: The tournament returned to The Greenbrier after being held in Hot Springs, Virginia, in 1922, and an 18-year-old named Densmore Shute claimed his first of two titles, defeating Vint Rathbone of Parkersburg 8 and 6. Shute, a Cleveland, Ohio, native playing out of Huntington, would add a second Amateur win in 1925, but would go on to much bigger things, winning the 1933 Open Championship at St. Andrews to go with a pair of wins in the PGA Championship in 1936 and 1937. Shute was the only player to win back-to-back PGAs until Tiger Woods did it in 1999 and 2000. Also a member of the United States Ryder Cup team in 1931, 1933 and 1937, Shute was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008. He finished his career with 16 PGA Tour victories.
1929: Ira Errett Rodgers, one of the greatest athletes in West Virginia University history, claimed the West Virginia Amateur title with a 5 and 4 win over George Hewitt. Rodgers was serving as WVU's football coach at the time, a post he held from 1925-30 and again from 1943-45, compiling a 41-31-8 mark. He also served as the Mountaineers' baseball coach for 23 years, compiling a record of 204-208-3, but his accomplishments as an athlete at WVU cemented his legacy. Rodgers was the school's first consensus All-American in 1919 after leading the country with 147 points on 19 touchdowns and 33 extra points. His 19 rushing touchdowns in a season that year is still the school record, and his mark of 42 career rushing touchdowns stood until it was broken by Steve Slaton in 2007.
1931: Pollock, at age 47, claimed his final Amateur championship, defeating Fred Bannerot Jr. of Charleston in a tight contest, 2 and 1. Pollock rolled in an 18-foot putt on the 35th hole to finish the job. He won nine of the first 18 West Virginia Amateurs and was a perfect 9-0 in finals matches. Bannerot would go on to win three Amateur championships of his own, including in each of the following two years.
1933: In winning his second consecutive crown with a 1-up win over Bobby Rownd, Bannerot fired a round of 64 in the first of two qualifying rounds, a new record for the Amateur. That mark would stand for 70 years until broken in the first round in 2003 by Pat Carter, who carded an opening 63.
1939: Mount Hope's Ed Tutwiler picked up the first of his 11 West Virginia Amateur championships as a 19-year-old, defeating Bryan Brown of Hinton 7 and 6. He would cement his legacy in golf elsewhere as well. He finished as the 1964 United States Amateur runner-up, won three West Virginia Opens (1951, 1956, 1962), was the Indiana Amateur champion in 1966 and 1967 and won the United States Seniors' Golf Association championship in 1978 and 1986. He was inducted into the West Virginia Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1988.
1948: After a six-year hiatus for World War II, the West Virginia Amateur resumed with Tutwiler winning his third crown in a 4 and 3 victory over Bannerot. Then-Gov. Clarence Meadows also qualified in the championship flight and won his first match before withdrawing.
1949: William C. (Bill) Campbell arrived on the scene, claiming his first of a record 15 titles with a 4 and 3 win over Tutwiler, signaling the start of the greatest two-player rivalry in the tournament's history. The two would combine to win every Amateur from 1948-63 with Tutwiler winning nine over that time and Campbell claiming seven. The other would finish as runner-up seven times in that span with Tutwiler going 6-1 against Campbell in finals matches. Even on the national stage, the two couldn't escape each other as the two battled it out for the 1964 United States Amateur crown with Campbell coming out on top in a 1-up nail-biter.
1960: Due to a strike at the hotel, the West Virginia Amateur was played at Guyan Country Club in Huntington with Tutwiler winning his ninth championship, edging Campbell 1 up. This one especially stung for Campbell, who was playing on his home course. Tutwiler took the lead after Campbell missed a 5-foot putt on the next-to-last hole and both parred the last.
1963: Tutwiler claimed his 11th and final title with a 4 and 3 win over A.J. Gray Jr. of Wheeling. From 1939 to 1963, Tutwiler won 11 of the 18 Amateurs he entered.
This timeline of highlights of the West Virginia Amateur golf tournament continues Monday in The Herald-Dispatch. For more facts about the West Virginia Amateur, check out Bob Baker's "West Virginia Amateur History" found at http://wvga.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/WV_Am_Complete_History.pdf.