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Pete Dye could mean high scores
by John G. Miller
(May 25)Pat Carter has won the last three West Virginia Amateurs. He won last year's title by 15 strokes at The Greenbrier.
At the U.S. Open Qualifier last Monday, he scrambled to shoot a two-over par 74. Harold Payne, a five-time winner of the amateur, was at six-over 78.
Does that mean the state amateur at the Pete Dye Course will be won by an above-par score?
Bill Stines, Director of Golf at the Pete Dye Golf Club, said that depends on several factors.
"I think the first thing you have to realize is that golfers will approach a one-day, 18-hole qualifier different than they do a four-day, 72-hole event," Stines said. "Sometimes your approach works, sometimes it doesn't. But, in a one-day event, there's no chance the next day.
"There's also the fact that the golfers aren't as familiar with this course as they were The Greenbrier's. This course is a new adventure for all of them, even though they've played here before because they're still learning the course."
The other factor is weather. If it's rainy, the course will play longer and Stines, course superintendent Gary Grandstaff and West Virginia Golf Association director Danny Fisher will likely shorten the yardage.
"I doubt if we set the course for the amateur as long as we did the qualifier," Stines said. "We had it at 6,993 yards on Monday. For the amateur, we're probably looking at 6,800-6,900, depending on the weather."
Regardless of the yardage, Stines doesn't expect any under-par four-day scores.
"Obviously, Pat Carter has the ability to shoot very low on any course," Stines said. "He has the ability to mentally play championship golf at a top amateur level and he's proven that over and over.
"He's very tournament tough and that goes for Harold Payne and Steve Fox, too.
"But, I would be very surprised if anyone shoots better than 290 (two-over par) in the four-day amateur. The course is a tremendous test for the amateur golfer."
n ONE OF THE BEST: Australian Tour professional David Hill has played some of the world's best golf courses Ñ including the Pete Dye Golf Club.
"This course is in the top three or four, and that's not putting any of those in any particular order," Hill said after firing a 70 during the recent U.S. Open Qualifier. "It is truly something special."
High praise from someone who's played the world-renown Royal Melbourne course in his native Australia.
"This is a world class course," Hill said. "There's no question about that."
Hooters Tour pro Tommy Dudley, who won the qualifier with a four-under par 68, said it's the best course he's played on.
"This was a no-lose situation for me," Dudley said. "I just paid $100 to play two rounds on a fabulous golf course. You can't beat that."
Dudley said the courses he sees on the Hooters Tour, which is based mainly in the southeast, don't compare.
"We play on some good courses, but nothing like this," Dudley said. "There aren't many courses that can compare to this one."
n EUROPEAN WHAT?: If Dudley eventually reaches his goal of playing on the PGA Tour, he'll probably be the only professional golfer with a college degree in European History.
Of course, if he doesn't reach the PGA Tour, he's not sure what he can do with his degree.
"My parents wanted me to have a good GPA (grade point average) and I liked the subject," the Washington & Lee (Va.) graduate said. "But, I'd probably just go into something golf-related or business-related if professional golf doesn't work out."
n UPCOMING: The Michelob/Mountaineer Golf Series will be at the Pete Dye Golf Club on Monday, June 1. Cost is $250 for lunch, golf and the awards dinner. A limited number of dinner-only tickets are available at $50 each. Contact Cuz Blake at 842-2795, Joe Manchin III at 622-0388 or Tim Manchin at 367-1862.
n The Salem-Teikyo University Basketball Program Golf Tournament will be held Friday, June 12 at the Clarksburg Country Club. Fee is $65 which includes golf, cart, lunch and awards. Call 782-5286 for more information.
n The eighth annual Brian Jozwiak/Subway Celebrity Golf Tournament will be held June 12 at Bel Meadow Country Club. Fee is $135. Phone 1-800-391-4733 for more information.