Reale makes serious move at state Am

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Moving day for Glenville native Philip Reale occurred a little sooner than expected.

During the second round of Wednesday’s 95th annual West Virginia Amateur Championship at The Greenbrier, Reale opened his round tied for 27th place. When his 18 holes were all said and done, he climbed into the top 10 and reached the halfway mark of the tournament sitting in a three-way tie for fifth place after shooting even-par 70 for a two-day total of 4-over 144.

Reale, who now resides in South Charleston, didn’t waste any time making his way up the leaderboard after having three birdies and no bogeys in his first eight holes.

“I actually played better than the score for two days in a row,” Reale said. “For a couple of weeks now, ever since I played with my dad (Phil) over Memorial Day weekend in North Carolina I told him I am hitting well and things are starting to come together with my ball striking.

“The putter left me the first day, but I putted well today.”

At 30 years old, Reale raves about how confident he feels about his game. He left the sport for several years while attending law school, but as recent as last year at the West Virginia Mid-Amateur when he was medalist in stroke play and advanced to the quarterfinals of match play his game has been on the upswing.

“I’ve put golf in perspective,” Reale said. “Now I have bills to pay and work, so there is not as much pressure with golf. I play a lot more conservatively. I don’t use driver off the tee as much and I’ve learned the value of par. Par is a good score.”

Reale owns several top 10 finishes at the state Am, but it’s his brother, Anthony, who owns the only state Am title in the family.

“I remember one year when I was about 18 years old and in third place after the second day,” Reale said. “I was paired with Pat Carter, and that was first time I played with him. I might as well as been playing with Jack Nicklaus because I was playing with a living legend.

“Nowadays, I’m not going to be intimidated by anyone. I can’t worry about what everybody else is doing. There are maybe 20 guys who can still win this thing so it’s still anybody’s tournament. It’s just a matter of staying within youself and hitting shots.”

As for the leaders, Huntington’s Josh Holmes chopped off a five-stroke deficit and moved ahead into first place at 1-over par 141 after shooting a round of 1-under 69 at The Old White Course.

Madison’s Harry Howell (68-74-142) and first-round leader Woody Woodard (67-75-142) of Bridgeport follow in a tie for second place, while Wheeling’s Thadd Obecny (69-74-143) is alone in fourth place.

Of the 11 golfers in the field who reside in the Mid-Ohio Valley, a total of five made the cut for the final two rounds, including Mason’s Trent Roush who played his last three holes at 1-under par and finished tied for 21st place at 73-75-148.

On the strength of a birdie on his second hole, Williamstown’s Austin Root moved to 1-over for the tournament and remained there until he bogeyed the fifth hole and tripled-bogeyed No. 6. The 20-year-old golfer closed out his day tied for 25th place at 72-78-150.

A strong finish by Mason’s Mitch Roush put him in a tie for 32nd place along with Elizabeth’s Matt Moore (74-77-151). Mitch Roush played even-par for his last 10 holes.

Just clearing the cut line was Parkersburg South junior Alex Schreckengost, who needed birdies on his final two holes to finish tied for 39th place at 75-78-153.

“I asked one of the guys who works for the West Virginia Golf Association what the cut line might be and he said between 153 and 155, so I knew I needed at least one birdie on my final two holes,” Schreckengost said. “It ended up being a little skill and lot of luck.”

On the par 5, 17th hole Schreckengost made a downhill putt from 15 feet for his first birdie. He approached the par 3, 145-yard 18th hole looking to give himself breathing room with another birdie.

“On the 18th hole, the pin was tucked to the left and I hit it 25 feet right behind it,” Schreckengost said. “I hadn’t three-putted all day and I been stroking it really well. I was relieved when I made it.”

In two previous appearances at the West Virginia Am, Schreckengost missed the cut both times.

“I missed the cuts pretty badly, but this year I wasn’t as nervous as I was the last two years,” he said. “It will be nice to play the Greenbrier two more days. I’m not complaining about that.”

On the opposite side of the cut line and landing in a tie for 41st place was Spencer’s Cole More (76-78-154), who double-bogeyed his last hole and missed by one stroke from advancing to today’s third round.

Rounding out the local contingent were Parkersburg’s Michael Koreski (77-81-158), Parkersburg’s Mike Lewis (78-81-159), Spencer’s Richard Moore (74-86-160), Glenville’s Travis Woodford (81-79-160) and Vienna’s Ollie Fankhauser (79-81-160).