HURRICANE, W.Va. - The weather on Monday, outside of the heat, did not present many challenges to those trying to qualify for the 94th West Virginia Amateur Championship. It was the weather from the previous weeks that caused the most headaches among the 79 players at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club.
Rain, and lots of it, has hit the course hard this summer and all one has to do is look at Monday's scores to see the result. The general consensus among players coming off the course was that it was difficult and played differently than they are used to - evident in the fact that no golfer shot a round below par.
"It's not the same course. It's not the usual Sleepy Hollow," said Will Johnson, a competitor in Monday's event and the men's golf coach at the University of Charleston. "It's tough but it's the same for everybody. The greens don't roll real well but it's because of the weather, not because of the place. The weather has been bad so the course is not up to par."
Johnson was one of the few who seemed to play well Monday. His 74 put him in a tie for second place with John Duty.
"It was tough," Johnson said, "You'd better drive it in play. There's a lot of spots that usually aren't here when this course isn't wet."
Todd Branham, 27, of Charleston, shot a 77 on Monday to qualify for the tournament. Branham, who qualified for last year's tournament, also thought the recent inclement weather played a part in the higher-than-usual scoring at Sleepy Hollow.
"Due to the weather the greens were a little slow and bumpy," he said. "They've had some root problems. It's nothing that we can do anything about it's just something we have to deal with. Everybody has to play on it. Other than that, the rough is a little thick and where it was damp, that makes it a little harder to get out of it."
Johnson and Branham agreed that with conditions such as the ones in Hurricane there was nothing a player could physically do to combat the problems and that a strong mental game was necessary for success.
"You just have to take your medicine and take what the course gives you," Branham said. "Combat it, play smart and know that par is a good score in amateur golf. If you handle your business you should be able to get in."
Doug Wallace had the low round of the day with a 1-over 73. In all, 14 players qualified for the West Virginia Amateur Championship, which will take place Aug. 5 through Aug. 8 and alternate between the Greenbrier and Old White TPC courses. In addition to the 14 that qualified, the next two highest scores will be the second and eighth alternates, respectively.
There are six qualifiers around the state for the tournament with two now complete (a qualifier at Cacapon State Park in Berkeley Spring was played last week).
The other qualifier locations are at Greenhills Country Club in Ravenswood today, Lewisburg Elks on Wednesday, Grandview Golf Club in Beaver on Friday and at Bridgeport Country Club on July 29. There are 30 exemptions for the tournament. The top 15 finishers from last year automatically qualify, as do the top 15 amateur finishers at the West Virginia Open.
Contact Tom Bragg at tom.br...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.