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Carter roars to lead at West Virginia Open

From Staff, Wire Reports

(June 26) SISSONVILLE -- Five-time West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter shot a second-round 6-under-par 66 at the Edgewood Country Club Thursday to put himself in position to capture his first victory at the West Virginia Open.

The score put Carter, who was two shots off the lead after the first round, ahead by three strokes going into today's final round. The tournament is a 54-hole format.

"It's definitely one of my goals to do well in the Open and now I'm in position to finally win it,'' said Carter, a potato chip distributor from Huntington.

"But I'll have to play solid (today)."

Carter, who birdied eight holes, said his putting made the difference. His longest was a 20-footer on the third hole.

Defending champion John Ross was next behind Carter with a two-round total of 141, after shooting a 69 on Thursday.

Edgewood pro Scott Davis, Morgantown's Brad Westfall and Todd Westfall of Hawk's Nest were tied for third at 142.

Carter said Ross played a solid round on Thursday and knows he'll be right there again today.

"There are no weaknesses in his game," Carter said.

Carter's West Virginia Amateur victories have hinged on his ability to play dominating final rounds. But that tournament is four rounds, 18 holes longer than the Open.

Still, Ross expects Carter to be tough to beat in the shorter format.

"He's fun to play with. I have a lot of respect for his game. I'm going to have to play very good (to win)," Ross said.

Todd Westfall, the head pro at Hawk's Nest Country Club near Anstead, was tied with Gary Blake, of Mineral Wells, after the first round.

But, Blake had a second round 74 to fall six shots behind Carter.

Jaime Whitt, of Huntington, matched Carter's second-round 66, but is seven shots back of the lead after shooting a 79 in the first round.

Area golfers near the leaders include:

Steve Vanhorn of Morgantown and Philip Zambos of Flatwoods at 147.

David Hawkins of Clarksburg at 148.

Bill Stines of Bridgeport and Jack Forbes of Morgantown at 150.

The Open has a $25,000 total purse.