CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two of the top young golfers in West Virginia share the lead after round of the 88th West Virginia Open at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport. Petersburg High School graduate Nick Fleming and Bridgeport High School alumnus Mason Williams are the lone competitors under par through the first 18 holes. Both posted 1-under par rounds of 71 Wednesday.
Fleming, who competes for Wingate University and is a native of Cabins in Grant County, birdied four of his last eight holes. Williams, who just completed his junior season at Georgia Southern, put three birdies on his card in the opening round.
Williams competed in the Mountaineer Invitational at Pete Dye G.C. two months ago and he says the course is playing much different.
“It was in early April and it was still cold up here. And we played the course pretty long. The golf course played pretty hard that week. This week, it was still a little chilly in the morning but it heated up in the afternoon. And the golf course still played pretty long,” Williams said.
Pete Dye G.C. is Williams’ home course and his local knowledge acts as another club in his bag.
“It definitely takes a little bit of pressure off yourself knowing you don’t need to worry about where to hit it. You know where to hit it and it is up to you. It was kind of comfortable today.”
11-time champion David Bradshaw is one stroke back at even par. Christian Boyd of Charles Town is also tied for third at even.
Defending champion Ken Hess is tied for fifth at 1-over. He is joined in fifth by Noah Mullens and Samuel Berry. Seven golfers are tied for eighth at 2-over. That group includes Bridgeport’s Marco Oliverio, Pikewood National Director of Golf Matt Tashenberg, Bridgeport’s Woody Woodward, WVU signee Todd Duncan, Thad Obecny, former champion Jonathan Clark and 13-time state amateur champion Pat Carter.
After tomorrow’s second round, the field of 132 professionals and amateurs will be cut to the low 60 players and ties. The final round is scheduled for Friday.
Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport is hosting the West Virginia Open for the first time since Brad Westfall won one of his five titles in 2000.