BENNETT: Marshall flavor in W.Va. Open field

Guys like Will Evans and Davey Jude most likely are going to be in the running to win the 86th West Virginia Open, which starts Wednesday at Parkersburg Country Club.

The two former Marshall University standouts are far from the only golfers in the field who competed for the Thundering Herd. Or perhaps I should say, are still competing.

That’s because three-time Class AAA all-stater Isaac Prine, a Parkersburg High School graduate, is hoping to play his best golf this week and improve upon last year’s tied for 57th place finish.

Prine, who is now making his fourth straight Open appearance and just finished his freshman year in Huntington, will be competing against fellow Marshall teammate Cole Moore. Moore helped Roane County to four Class AA state titles while in high school and will be a senior this fall for the Thundering Herd.

“He graduated this spring,” Prine said of Thomas Frazier, a former Huntington High prep golfer who finished at MU and also is in the field. “Our head coach (Matt Grobe, via an exemption) will be playing in it as well.

“I’m honestly interested because a couple of our other players who live out of state have been playing well. It’s nice that Cole and I will be playing in it along with our head coach to see where we stand now.”

The ex-Big Red added Frazier was going to be a graduate assistant coach this fall as he begins to embark on his professional career.

Having course knowledge never hurts and that’s something Prine definitely has.

“For the last six years of my life, I’ve basically been there every day,” he said of PCC. “I guess I got some big goals for this week, but overall I’m just going to try and go do what I do best and see how it works for me.”

From talking with Prine, he said his first year at Marshall went about as well as expected and he’s anxious to have another three years in the program.

“I had a really good time and met a bunch of great guys and played a lot of good competitive golf,” he said. “The first semester was pretty good. I started off pretty hot and competed well, but a little bit of an injury toward the end of the fall kept me from playing at a higher level.”

Prine also opined this week experience-wise just wasn’t about being in previous W.Va. Opens, but rather competing “in high caliber tournaments. Playing with the college level and US Junior level of kids.

“It’s helped me out tremendously with keeping good composure clear through the tournament and staying focused as I can be 18 holes a day and one shot at a time.”

While Moore is set to tee off at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday on the first hole, Prine will go off at the same time, but on No. 10.

“I’m going to play at 9 a.m. Tuesday with Thomas and Cole,” Prine said of their practice round. “We’re keeping the Herd together and see what we can learn from each other.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.

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