CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The return of Tim Fisher to the State Amateur not only creates more intriguing storylines for the 94th edition of the 72-hole championship, it pads an already-strong contingent of players at the Greenbrier resort.
Even without 2012 champion Pat Carter, who withdrew to watch son Hogan play in the Southeast Regional Little League Tournament in Warner Robins, Ga.
The Amateur begins today with 100 players teeing off from the No. 1 tee at a slightly restructured Old White TPC, which will play just 245 yards shorter than it did for the Greenbrier Classic.
The first and fourth rounds will be played on the par 70, 7,042-yard Old White TPC, while the second and third rounds will be contested on the par 72, 6,619-yard Greenbrier layout. The field will be cut to the 40 low scores plus ties after Tuesday's second round.
The Old White layout didn't pose many problems last year for Carter, whose course management brought the 45-year-old Huntington resident his 13th Amateur crown.
What it does to some of the younger players is anybody's guess, especially if the recent rain in Greenbrier County plays a role.
Clear skies are expected to prevail today and Tuesday with a threat of thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday.
"It depends on if the fairways are fast and rolling or if it's all carry," said Marshall University senior Brian Anania, who will graduate in May with a degree in management and a minor in marketing. "If the fairways are soft, it'll definitely be a lot longer course for the shorter hitters."
He said that the Greenbrier course is no different.
"The last couple years I was playing my driver on the Greenbrier and if you spray it there you're in trouble," he said. "If you look at my scores the last two years on the Greenbrier rounds, one round I spray it and shoot a 78 or 80 and the other round where I hit it well I shot a 66. You have to position yourself well."
Anania is playing in his fifth Amateur, finishing tied for seventh in 2009, sixth in 2011 and tied for fourth last year. He tied for 32nd in 2010.
Weather notwithstanding, hitting landing areas, staying out of trouble, and having good looks into the greens are paramount to a successful tournament.
Charleston Catholic senior Aaron Persily, who is competing in his first Amateur today and played a practice round on Friday, recognizes the challenges ahead of him, but has a game plan to attack both courses.
"For me, in this field being just a mid-ranger ... not short, not long, just about average, I can't try to do too much and play my game like I usually do," Persily said.
"I can't overswing to get into trouble. If there's a fairway bunker in my range, laying back is an option or hitting to the opposite side of the fairway.
"I feel pretty comfortable on the Old White course. I don't feel like there are any shots I don't have. It's hard for everyone. The key is just to play like any other day."
TOM SPRIGGS of Cross Lanes, the first alternate from the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club qualifier, will fill the Amateur slot left open by Carter's withdrawal.