(Bridgeport, WV) Following a day that was dictated by pop up thunderstorms and rain delays the players of the 2018 WV Senior Open found themselves enjoying picture perfect conditions in today’s final round. The impeccable weather combined with the immaculate course conditions of Bridgeport Country Club set the stage for a wonderful final round in what is the WVGA’s first true senior state championship of the year. Unlike most every other WVGA event, the WV Senior Open pairs the state’s best senior amateur players against some of the best senior professionals of West Virginia. This year’s field included five Professionals; John Ross, Barry Evans, Scott Davis, Ty Roush, and Bridgeport Country Club Head Professional, VJ Baldini. In all 44 players entered this year’s championship spanning three(3) divisions which included the Championship, Silver (ages 60-69), and Gold (ages 70+) Divisions.
Heading into today’s final round amateur, Tim Mount, was looking to do something that had only been done once before and that was claim the WV Senior Open title as an amateur. Since its inception in 2013, the WV Senior Open title has only been claimed by an amateur once which came in 2014 when Steve Fox claimed the title at Berry Hills Country Club. Taking a one shot lead into today’s final round Mount knew the task at hand would not be an easy one as just one shot behind was professional John Ross who holds two WV Senior Open champion titles (2015,2016). After a great opening tee shot, Mount found trouble on his opening hole, the par-5 first, at Bridgeport Country Club which lead to an opening bogey to begin his title run. Mount steadied his nerves quickly though and was able to erase the opening blemish with a birdie on the par-5 fourth hole. Mount then added one more birdie to his opening nine carding a four on the par-5 ninth which put him back on top by one stroke over Ross. Ross’ opening nine was as solid as they come as he was able to match Mount’s birdie on the fourth and card eight pars to open his round. As the final pairing headed to the back nine the tension was palpable. Mount made an unexpected bogey on the par-5 tenth hole which brought him back in a tie with Ross atop the leaderboard. As the two gentlemen stepped up to the difficult par-4 twelfth tied, it was Ross who struck first making a great birdie to take the lead by one. Unfortunate back to back bogeys for Mount on the thirteenth and fourteenth holes seemed to seal his fate as Ross made yet another birdie on the fourteenth to go four ahead of Mount. Ross continued to guide himself in on the closing holes making pars on his final four to post a final round 69. Mount on the other hand found trouble again in the seventeenth and again on the eighteenth closing his round with two bogeys for a final round of 76. Ross’ two day total of 139(-5) was good enough for a six shot victory over Mount who claimed both Runner-Up and Low Amateur honors after posting a two day total of 145(+1). Claiming third in the Championship Division was defending champion, Barry Evans, who posted rounds of 72-75(147).
Claiming victory in the Silver Division was Jim Carpenter of Martinsburg. Carpenter, who plays in the Silver Division even though he is 71 years young, followed his opening round of 79 with a closing round of 76 for a two day total of eleven over-par, 155. Carpenter’s round today was eerily similar to his opening round as once again Carpenter found trouble on the opening holes of the back nine playing the first five at six over par. One major bright spot on his card though came on the par-4 seventeenth as Carpenter carded an eagle 2. His two day total of 155 was good enough for a six shot victory over Huntington’s Jim Cyrus who posted rounds of 80-81 for a two day total of 161. Claiming solo third was Barry Knotts of Morgantown who posted back to back rounds of 82 for a two day total of 164.
John Cleavenger of Lumberport is no stranger to victories as he is the current champion of the Gold Division as last year’s Senior Amateur Championship. Heading into today’s final round of the WV Senior Open, Cleavenger held a one shot lead on Ben Watson of Daniels’ who on his own has held several WVGA State Championship titles in the Gold Division. As the pairing began their final round on the back nine of Bridgeport Country Club today it was a back and forth match between Cleavenger and Watson with Watson making a comeback to take a one shot lead heading into the closing nine holes. Unfortunately, Watson made a few mistakes which lead to two double bogeys on the closing stretch and Cleavenger was able to finish with seven straight pars to claim victory. Cleavengers two day total of 155 was good enough for a two shot victory over Watson who posted a two day total of 157.