VIENNA - A stomach virus nearly shelved Kenny Hess for this week's 80th West Virginia Open.
Fortunately, the golfer from Parkersburg was scheduled for a later tee time on his home course at Parkersburg Country Club and managed to overcome the aches and pains to turn in a round of even par 72.
Hess joins Vienna's Scott Bibbee as the lowest scores recorded by local golfers. The duo trails the leaders - David Bradshaw and Ian Patrick -by three strokes entering today's second round.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Vienna golfer Scott Bibbee awaits his turn on the 17th green during Wednesday’s opening round of the 80th West Virginia Open at Parkersburg Country Club. Bibbee shot a round of even par 72.
"It wasn't a good day on Tuesday," Hess said. "I started about 10 p.m. getting some kind of stomach bug. I don't know what it was. It was about 3 in the morning and I was going to text (the West Virginia Golf Association) and tell them I couldn't play."
Several hours of sleep did the trick to a degree. After making bogey on his second hole, he later birdied back-to-back holes before completing his front nine at 1-under 35.
"I came here and every swing was hurting for the first six or seven holes," Hess said. "For as bad as it was, I can't complain."
Hess gave back three strokes in the next four holes, including a double-bogey on one of the toughest rated holes at No. 13. He collected himself in time to finish his round with birdies on his last two holes.
"I'm a little weak and my stomach is still hurting now," Hess admitted. " But I guess you can say I didn't play myself out."
Bibbee, meanwhile, stayed in contention with an impressive par putt on the course's toughest hole at No. 16 - a 469-yard, par 4.
"My whole game felt better and more comfortable," Bibbee said. "I'll just go out tomorrow and see if I can make a few more putts and get under par."
Another local golfer making a strong bid was Vienna's Alan Cooke, who carded a 1-over 73. The 18-year-old was even par until he suffered a consecutive bogeys on his 15th and 16th hole. His birdie on the 18th hole
"My putter killed me today," Cooke said. "Otherwise, I was hitting it well.
"Hopefully, I will have a good day (Thursday). Maybe we will get some fresh greens which will give a better opportunity to score."