PARKERSBURG - There's a gym rat. Then there's a golf fanatic.
The latter fits Michael Koreski, who grew up practicing on his father's driving range on the south side of Parkersburg beginning at the age of 7. Eventually, his father built a nine-hole course then was responsible for the creation of what is now Woodridge Golf Club in Mineral Wells.
"My dad was a PGA professional, so I grew up around golf," said Koreski, who currently lives in Parkersburg.
Koreski will be one of the 120 golfers in the field for the 80th West Virginia Open which is making its return to Parkersburg Country Club in Vienna for the first time in 30 years. The tournament is scheduled for June 17-21.
"I've been looking forward to this," Koreski said. "It probably gives me a teensy little bit of confidence playing at Parkersburg Country Club.
"Right now, my game is hit or miss. I'll shoot one good round then one bad round. It's inconsistent, so hopefully I'll find some consistency in time for the tournament."
Koreski hopes to bring back the kind of magic which helped him qualify for the 2005 U.S. Mid-Am in Chattanooga, Tenn. The 1988 graduate of Parkersburg High School also competed at two U.S. Public Links Championships hosted in Texas and Washington.
"I've got to do a lot of nice things and visit a lot of nice places because I have been able to play golf," Koreski said.
His competitive fire has been burning as far back to his junior days when he was a member of back-to-back state championship teams at Parkersburg High School in 1986-87. Competing in track, baseball and basketball were also part of the equation until he figured out golf was his strong suit.
"That's why I play golf - to get into contention," Koreski said. "I like golf. That's my outlet for competition."
Koreski did not play in last year's West Virginia Open, but qualified for this year's event by placing 11th at last year's West Virginia State Amateur. His best showing at the Open occurred at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club when he placed fourth.
"I'm more interested in trying to figure out how to get low am," Koreski said. "Low am would be awesome."
Now that he and his wife, Beth are raising a son (Joey), Koreski devotes more of his time to family life. Which leaves less time for competitive rounds.
"My son is starting to get interested in golf," Koreski said. "This summer, I've taken him out a couple times and I've also signed him up for the Little Generals program through the West Virginia Golf Association.
"I used to play probably 15 tournaments a year and now I am down to seven or eight. Of course, I want to win the West Virginia Open, but low am is my goal. I'm just excited to play in what I consider one of the top-notch tournaments."