South grad Kenny Hess shoots 3-under to take lead at WV Open
PARKERSBURG — Four-time defending West Virginia Open champion David Bradshaw has some work to do if he wants to win the 87th event, which got underway Tuesday on the Cobb Course at the Resort at Glade Springs.
As of press time Tuesday evening, the championship had two mid-afternoon 45-plus minute delays due to weather and a third in the early evening. Numerous golfers were still on the course when the third delay hit.
Parkersburg South graduate and pro golfer Kenny Hess fired a 3-under par 69 and was the leader in the clubhouse.
Hess opened his day by making birdie on the first two holes. Despite giving a shot back on No. 4, he was 2-under at the turn and finished with eight pars on the back nine as well as a birdie on No. 12.
“Course is playing interesting,” Hess stated. “Greens are super soft and a little slow to what I’m used to at Parkersburg Country Club. You really have to have control of the spin on the golf ball to hit it close.
“The wind also picked up more than normal at Glade so it just added more thinking to the mix. I hit it really solid. I kept it in play and birdied the holes I should have. I thought my way around the course well. Excited to keep grinding the next 36.”
Bradshaw made birdie on No. 18 just before the third delay to finish with a 3-over par 75.
Recent W.Va. Senior Open champ Pat Carter shot a 2-under par 70. Pros Thadd Obecny of Wheeling and Samuel Berry of Morgantown finished at 1-under as too did Nick Fleming of Cabins.
A trio of golfers were in at even par, which included West Liberty University’s Cole Moore.
Moore, who started on the back nine and was 1-under at the turn thanks to a birdie on No. 16, mixed in three other birdies along with two bogeys and a double bogey for his 72.
One stroke back after the opening round was Moore’s college teammate Alex Easthom. The former W.Va. Junior Amateur champ, who played with Hess, was 2-under through 11 before taking a triple bogey on the par-5 12th after he drove into the trees and took three shots to get out.
“I already made that decision,” Easthom said of hitting a hybrid on No. 12 the rest of the week.
Although the Hilltopper followed with bogeys at 13 and 14 and had another at the 17th, he closed with a birdie and also had an eagle on the par-4 15th.
“The way it dog legs that hole, honestly, is probably 310 or 320 over top of the trees,” Easthom noted of his eagle while adding he had 17 putts on the front nine. “I flew it probably 310, 315. It hit the fringe and it bounced maybe 6 feet from where it landed. My ball ended up 6 feet from the hole.”
Parkersburg High grad and Marshall University golfer Isaac Prine carded a 5-over 77.
Fairmont State and Ritchie County grad Ben Knight was in a group at plus-6, which included last year’s low amateur champ Josef Dransfeld of Elon University. Knight started on the back nine and finished with a 45, but made five birdies on the front side to help post a 3-under 33.
Three other Wood County golfers finished their round before press time. Ben Palmer and Adam Chestnut each shot 81s while Chris Barlament carded an 86.