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Bid for first West Virginia Open title put on hold for Carter

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pat Carter has plenty of amateur golf hardware, but the West Virginia Open has eluded the decorated insurance executive from Huntington.

It will again in 2013.

Carter injured his eye in April, requiring surgery and forcing him to withdraw from the 80th Open Wednesday through Friday at the Parkersburg Country Club

Although the 45-year-old father of two played in the Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pa., this weekend, his injury won't allow him to play this week.

"I really don't have a choice," said Carter, who added that two ophthalmologists said the operation "needs to be done immediately."

Carter's injury is a fracture of the orbital bone in his left eye, and is "getting worse," he said. "I love the golf course (Parkersburg Country Club), but I do need to get this corrected and that's first and foremost."

Carter has competed in 32 United States Golf Association championships during his career, and has won 13 State Amateur titles. Last year's Amateur crown earned Carter an exemption into the fourth annual Greenbrier Classic, July 4-7 at the Old White TPC.

He'll lose precious preparation time for the Amateur. Carter said he's not driving the ball very well, but said it could have something to do with his injury.

"I have to make a correction," he said. "I haven't driven the ball well this year. I'm hoping when my eyesight is corrected, everything will look the same. It doesn't look the same over the ball. It deteriorates your confidence. I always have been a good driver of the ball, but, for some reason, I'm hitting it right and left."

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THE PARKERSBURG Country Club course is hosting the Open for the first time since 1983, beginning with Sunday's Coca-Cola Shootout.

Among the events this week is Tuesday's Past Champions dinner at 7 p.m. in the Parkersburg Country Club ballroom.

The late Larry Martin, the former Parkersburg Country Club pro and the man responsible for starting the state's junior golf tour, will be honored.

As for the course, the par 73, 6,927-yard layout will be in prime condition for Wedensday's first round, West Virginia Golf Association Executive Director Ken Tackett said.

"The rough is really healthy," Tackett said. "By Wednesday it'll be where we want it. It's not U.S. Open, but you definitely will want to hit the ball in the fairway.

"The greens will be about 10.5 (on the stimpmeter), pushing 11 by Wednesday. Nothing crazy."

Winning the 1983 Open was Parkersburg Country Club member Jim Fankhauser, who overcame a late surge by Bramwell's John Ross and a two-hour rain delay to win by three strokes.

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HURRICANE'S Sam O'Dell came off his second Mid-Amateur championship to win Sunday's Coca-Cola Shootout at the Parkersburg Country Club.

O'Dell survived against six-time Open champion David Bradshaw, two-time-champion Jonathan Clark, 2005 champion Craig Berner, host pro Scott Davidson, 2012 Open runner-up Christian Brand and Kenny Hess. Amateurs in the field were Bosten Miller, Brian Anania, Ian Patrick and Bryan Myers.

The week's worth of events at the Parkersburg Country Club continue today with Pro-Ams and the awards banquet in the ballroom.

On Tuesday, players will participate in practice rounds with the Champions dinner honoring the late Larry Martin, also in the ballroom.

The 54-hole tournament begins on Wednesday on No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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