WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Chris Barlament played the round of his life, while Alan Cooke's experience during the first round of the 94th West Virginia Amateur resembled more of an elevator ride.
But bottom line, both golfers from Vienna are in contention after each shot a round of 1-over par 71 on the Old Course at The Greenbrier Resort.
At one juncture, Barlament was sitting at 1-under with three holes remaining.
"I could not have played any better than I did today," Barlament said. "The golf course was so difficult, but I played one of the best rounds of my life."
Cooke righted the ship on an up-and-down round by playing the final five holes at 2-under. On the 18th hole, he chipped in from a greenside bunker.
"When I hit it from the bunker, there was a big bank in front of me," Cooke said. "When I saw the ball roll in I put my hand in the air. Usually, I'm not much for celebrating."
West Virginia Open runner-up Sam O'Dell from Hurricane shot a 2-under 68 to take to the first-round lead. Wheeling's Thadd Obecny follows at even par 70, while Barlament, Cooke and Buckhannon's Jeremy Rogers are locked in a three-way tie at 71.
"For Sam to shoot 2-under, that's a great score -my hats off to him," Cooke said.
Local golfers in the field included Parkersburg's Jeff Harper (72); Mason's Trent Roush (74); Elizabeth's Matthew Moore (77); Vienna's Randy Rogers (77); Vienna's John Fanta (77); Parkersburg's Dexter Hughes (78); Spencer's Camden Moore (79); Williamstown's Steve Jackson (79); Mineral Wells' Alex Schreckengost (80); Parkersburg's Timothy Tedrick (81); Parkersburg's Chuck Henderson (81); Parkersburg's Michael Koreski (81); Williamstown's Austin Root (85); Vienna's Tyler Cardenas (86); Ripley's Thomas Motes (87); and Ripley's Ronald Waybright (103).
Three-time champion Tim Fisher of Sandyville was disqualified Monday for playing the wrong ball on the 12th hole. Fisher was returning from a three-year suspension from West Virginia Golf Association events.
Cooke, who will be attending the University of South Carolina-Beaufort in the fall, won the award for top junior at the West Virginia Open earlier this summer at Parkersburg Country Club.
Yesterday's round for Cooke consisted on six birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey. Getting off the tee was his main issue, and after his round was complete he walked directly to the driving range to correct a few flaws.
"It was feast or famine out there," Cooke said. "On the first hole, my drive ended up on No. 17 which was 60 yards left of the first fairway.
"At least I didn't hit myself out of the tournament. I don't consider I'm out of the running."
Barlament made sure to phone his family back home to inform them of the good news. During a nine-hole stretch, he played the Old White at 3-under.
"I hit the ball great and hit the putter well - it was one of those days," Barlament said. "My goal (Tuesday) is to play as good as I can. I just want to play my game and do as well as I can, and have a good finish."