"When he's hitting shots you really can't do anything about it," Obecny said.
Cooke scrambled to survive and hold onto second place with two eagles that offset two double bogeys. His birdie on No. 18 secured him second place but also left him staring at a 9-stroke deficit.
White Sulphur Springs' Nick Dent stormed into the picture on Wednesday with five consecutive birdies beginning on No. 8. He parred out starting on No. 13 and is in third place and one of three players to shoot below par after three rounds.
Hurricane's Brian Anania (70), Howell (71), Bridgeport's Woody Woodward (70), Charleston's Bosten Miller (67), Huntington's Ian Patrick (67) and Lewisburg's Thomas Knight (71) were under par on Wednesday. The top 15 finishers today earn an exemption into next year's 95th State Amateur.
Jess Ferrell, who earned a Greenbrier Classic exemption with a State Amateur runner-up finish in 2011, is 5-over and tied for eighth, but is one of only four players to not shoot higher than 73 in any of the first three rounds.
This tournament, however, belongs to O'Dell. The Old White TPC doesn't offer as many opportunities to go low, so the goal for much of the field is to shoot for second place, or a top 15 to avoid facing State Amateur qualifying in 2014.
"Sometimes over there (Old White), you hit it out there, the greens are so tough, depending on where the pin is," O'Dell said. "You might get it in a spot where you're 10 to 12 feet where you'll only make it a third of the time anyway. The reward's far better over here and the risk is bigger over there (Old White) sometimes.
"I just want to tee it up. In nine holes, if I maintain that lead or grow that lead, there might be a couple holes that I play something safer."
If O'Dell holds on, it'll be his first State Amateur championship during a string of 19 appearances that include six top five finishes, nine top 10s and only two missed cuts (1998 at Pete Dye Golf Club and 2003 at the Greenbrier).
In 2011, former Capital High School and Marshall University player Christian Brand led by five strokes into the final round - which was played on the Greenbrier Course. He extended the lead to nine with a 1-under 71.
O'Dell leads by nine heading into the final 18 holes.
"I want to get off to a good start and not give anybody hope," O'Dell said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.