DANIELS, W.Va. — With seven birdies on his scorecard, Parkersburg’s Kenneth Hess made up a three-shot deficit to win the 87th West Virginia Open championship at Glade Springs by a single shot over Wheeling’s Thadd Obecny. Hess finished the tourney at 6-under.
Hess and Obecny approached the par 5 18th hole tied at the top of the leaderboard at 5-under par and they were three shots clear of the rest of the field. Hess stuck his approach shot to within about five feet for birdie while Obecny’s approach came up short of the green. Obecny got up-and-down to save par but Hess calmly drained his birdie putt to cap a round of 66 and give him his first state open title.
“I kind of blanked out to be honest,” Hess said of the winning putt. “I think it was outside-left and I hoped it hit the hole. And it did. I don’t remember much of that whole time frame. It is all kind of a blur right now.”
Obecny entered the day with a three-shot lead and needed just one hole to extend that cushion to four after a birdie on the opening hole. But Hess played near flawless golf the rest of the way, posting the second-lowest round of the day at 6-under.
“I felt good all day. I actually felt good all week. I had a few bad swings yesterday but I felt really good from day one, and even in the pro-am.”
“It was a fun spot to be chasing (Thadd). There is no pressure. You don’t have to have the lead sleeping at night. So you can chase the whole day, which was fun to do because I hit some good shots.”
Marshall graduate Will Evans authored the low round of the day with a 65. He was the early clubhouse leader at 2-under par and finished in third place. Former champions Christian Brand and David Bradshaw finished tied for fourth at 1-under.
2020 Petersburg High School graduate and Wingate signee Nick Fleming collected low junior and low amateur honors. He finished sixth at even par for the tournament. Barboursville’s Pat Carter finished tied for seventh at 1-over, giving him honors as the low senior.
With the victory, Hess earns a $6,500 first-place purse and a lifetime exemption in the West Virginia Open.