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Tough start for Mid-Ohio Valley golfers at 89th West Virginia Open

ROANOKE, W.Va. — Amateur Mason Kidwell, a Shepherd University graduate, carded seven birdies here Wednesday during the opening round of the 89th West Virginia Open being contested at Stonewall Resort en route to firing a 5-under par 67 for a one shot lead over West Liberty University head golf coach Thadd Obecny.

“I played really well today,” admitted Kidwell, who went off early before the heat set in. “The putter was really working for me and I felt really good out there today.”

Eight players finished in the red during Wednesday’s play and that included former two-time winner Christian Brand and defending champ David Bradshaw. They both shot 3-under.

Cory Dillinger and Tyler Shamblin shot 70s and are tied for fifth. Bryan Myers and Nick Fleming carded respective 71s and are tied for seventh at 1-under.

Parkersburg South graduate Kenny Hess, who won the 2020 W.Va. Open, is in a nine-way tie for 29th place after carding a 4-over par 76. The ex-Patriot avoided the big number, but he registered six bogeys to go along with birdies on the par-4 first and the par-3 10th.

Michael Koreski, of Parkersburg, was a shot back after posting a 77 that featured one double bogey and a trio of bogeys.

Ravenswood graduate Alex Easthom and Roane County graduate Cole Moore are in a 10-way tie for 43rd that also included Pat Carter. Easthom’s 6-over 78 started out with the West Liberty golfer being 7-over after the first six holes. He made birdie on the par-4 17th and played his last nine holes on the front at 1-under thanks to eight pars and a birdie on the par-4 ninth. Moore, who competed at Marshall, had three birdies on the front, but was 4-over. He then registered eight pars on the back before a double bogey on the par-5 18th.

Vienna’s Chuck Henderson was out in the early wave. He made birdies on he par-3 second and par-4 13th, but is right at the cutline after shooting an 80, which puts him in a tie for 61st that also included Gilmer County graduate Philip Reale. Reale had a trio of birdies on the front and was even, but shot 8-over on the back nine.

Also competing from the Mid-Ohio Valley were Parkersburg’s Matthew Hess (+10, T76th) and Ben Palmer (+13, T91st), Glenville’s Travis Woodford (+14, T98th), Belpre’s Lydel Norman (+20, T118th) and Spencer’s Garrett Simon (+21, T121st).

“This is a tough test of golf,” admitted Brad Ullman, who is the executive director of the West Virginia Golf Association. “We’re excited that this state championship is being held for the first time at Stonewall Resort and we are looking forward to the next two days of competitive golf among our state’s best professional and amateur golfers.”

Following today’s second round, the top 60 players and ties will advances to Friday’s third and final round.

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