O’Dell Joins Eight Other Players In the History of the WV Amateur To Claim Three WV Amateur Titles

Story by Richard L. Stevens, Jr.

Grinding is a slang golf term that refers to a player rallying to save shots, typically accompanied by unrelenting pressure. What is unbearable to some, is embraceable to Sam O’Dell. The Hurricane dentist’s steady hand served him well at the 98th West Virginia Amateur Presented by Mercedes-Benz. O’Dell shot a final-round 1-over 72 to win his third State Amateur, holding off Scott Depot’s Chris Williams at The Resort at Glade Springs’ Cobb Course. His first title came in 2013, his second in 2015, and his third this week. “When you get the opportunity to win a golf tournament like this, you have to take advantage of it,” O’Dell said. “If I didn’t win it again, it would’ve been two years, then it would’ve been three … if it keeps going you wonder (if it’ll happen again), especially with the kids knocking it by me.”

O’Dell had to fight off West Virginia University graduate Chris Williams, who didn’t play in 2016 while attending classes. He finished 11th in 2015. Williams’ run was brief, but palpable. The former Winfield High School standout had five birdies and two bogeys through 12 holes, but bogeyed three of the next four to fall out of contention. His only hope on No. 18 was to get a birdie and for O’Dell to double bogey, something he hadn’t done the previous 71 holes. “On 14, I hit it a little in the trees and had a punch shot but didn’t hit a good chip,” Williams said. “I hit a really good shot on 15, but three-putted for bogey from about 12 feet. On 17, I hit another good chip shot and missed a 3-footer. Just some putts today.” The talk of the tournament was 16-year-old Washington High School junior-to-be Christian Boyd. Boyd was in the final group with O’Dell and Hurricane’s Brian Anania, who won the 2014 championship. He trailed by two shots after the third round and closed the gap with a birdie on the par 3 No. 13. However, four consecutive bogeys brought him back toward the field. Number 13 was a 180-yard hole that included a Mercedes-Benz at the tee box. No players could win a car, which was to be awarded to every competitor who aced the hole during the final round. Boyd came within 10 feet on his tee shot, but that proved to be his final birdie before one on 18, which came too late. Still, the teenager playing in his first Amateur won’t have to qualify to compete in his second. The top 15 finishers and ties are exempt for qualifying in next year’s event, which is expected to return to the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs.

This year, the Amateur left the Greenbrier for just the fifth time in the 98 years it has been contested, putting all four rounds on the same course for only the second time since 1997. In 1998, Bridgeport’s Pete Dye Golf Club played host with Pat Carter winning his fourth consecutive Amateur. Only two players in the top 20 that year competed in this week’s event – Tad Tomblin and Steve Fox. O’Dell and brother Matt O’Dell played in the 1998 Amateur, but neither made the cut. “I play pretty good here, I feel pretty comfortable here,” Sam O’Dell said. “There are four or five shots here I don’t like, but this week I hit those pretty well actually. “I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m wore out.” O’Dell’s championship earns him a spot in the 2018 Greenbrier Classic. Last year’s Amateur champ, Alan Cooke, had his 2016 exemption moved to this year. O’Dell played in the 2015 Classic following his Amateur championship and shot a respectable 140, following a first-round 68 with a second-round 72.

Charleston’ Philip Reale had back-to-back solid rounds, shooting 2-under 70 each on Wednesday and Thursday to finish fifth. Other players 2-under par on Thursday were Princeton’s Tyler Hillyer, Parkersburg’s Ben Palmer, Huntington’s Thomas Frazier, Bridgeport’s Todd Westfall, and Charleston’s Aaron Persily – all of whom earn exemptions in the 99th Amateur in 2018.  The 2016 Amateur champion Alan Cooke was 9-over for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 15th. Next up on the West Virginia Golf Association schedule is the Women’s Amateur, June 20-21 at Alpine Lakes Resort. The State Open Championship will be held July 19-21 at Edgewood Country Club in Sissonville.

For more information on the 98th WV Amateur Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz and the West Virginia Golf Association please visit us online at www.wvga.org and see results below.

98th West Virginia Amateur presented by Mercedes-Benz
The Resort at Glade Springs (Cobb) – Cobb Course
Final Results
Sam O’Dell, Hurricane, W.Va. – 71-68-71-73–283
Chris Williams, Scott Depot, W.Va. – 70-70-73-72–285
Christian Boyd, Charles Town, W.Va. – 70-68-74-74–286
Brian Anania, Hurricane, W.Va. – 72-69-72-74–287
Philip Reale, South Charleston, W.Va. – 74-74-70-70–288
Will Evans, Charleston, W.Va. – 72-68-77-72–289
Thadd Obecny II, Wheeling, W.Va. – 71-75-71-73–290
Joshua Arbaugh, Morgantown, W.Va. – 74-72-72-72–290
Jeff McGraw, Princeton, W.Va. – 74-73-70-73–290
Tyler Hillyer, Princeton, W.Va. – 77-71-73-70–291
Ben Palmer, Parkersburg, W.Va. – 73-72-77-70–292
Thomas Frazier, Huntington, W.Va. – 73-74-76-70–293
Tad Tomblin, Hamlin, W.Va. – 69-75-75-75–294
Todd Westfall, Bridgeport, W.Va. – 76-78-70-70–294
Alan Cooke, Vienna, W.Va. – 76-71-73-75–295
Aaron Persily, Charleston, W.Va. – 77-71-77-70–295
Mark Johnson, Morgantown, W.Va. – 72-70-80-73–295
Isaiah Zaccheo, Beckley, W.Va. – 76-75-70-75–296
Cole Moore, Spencer, W.Va. – 76-71-75-75–297
Evan Butcher, Madison, W.Va. – 73-77-75-72–297
Scott Barnicle, Morgantown, W.Va. – 74-79-70-74–297
Chad Baldwin, Green Bank, W.Va. – 73-72-77-78–300
Chase Wolfe, Charleston, W.Va. – 81-71-73-76–301
Chris Daniels, Beckley, W.Va. – 77-76-77-72–302
Steve Fox, Barboursville, W.Va. – 74-75-75-78–302
Tim Mount, Huntington, W.Va. – 73-74-78-77–302
Zach Chapman, Culloden, W.Va. – 80-70-76-76–302
Ryan Bashour, Morgantown, W.Va. – 76-74-71-81–302
Matt Pellillo, Fairmont, W.Va. – 77-77-74-74–302
Harold Payne, Hurricane, W.Va. – 73-75-79-76–303
Owen Elliott, Hedgesville, W.Va. – 74-78-75-76–303
Ian Patrick Archer, Huntington, W.Va. – 80-72-76-76–304
Steve Ross, Huntington, W.Va. – 76-74-75-79–304
Landon Perry, Shady Spring, W.Va. – 77-76-77-75–305
Joey Seabright, Wheeling, W.Va. – 77-75-80-75–307
Karson Terry, Peterstown, W.Va. – 74-77-78-78–307
Cam Roam, Huntington, W.Va. – 79-75-74-79–307
Kollin Hopwood, Elkins, W.Va. – 78-74-82-73–307
Christian McKisic, Buckhannon, W.Va. – 79-73-72-83–307
Chandler Beavers, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. – 83-72-75-78–308
Pat Parker, Lewisburg , W.Va. – 75-80-78-76–309
Michael Koreski, Parkersburg, W.Va. – 79-78-77-75–309
Alex Hamrick, Red House, W.Va. – 79-75-79-76–309
David Cassis, Fayetteville, W.Va. – 82-75-78-75–310
Andy Michael, Huntington, W.Va. – 78-76-79-77–310
Jason Vass,  Fairmont, W.Va. – 75-81-72-82–310
Jeff Bryant, St Albans, W.Va. – 76-80-78-77–311
Jerry Stutler, Spencer, W.Va. – 74-80-80-77–311
Patrick Smith, Beckley, W.Va. – 74-78-78-82–312
Tyler Kondo, Morgantown, W.Va. – 75-82-76-79–312
Nicholas Casingal, Charleston, W.Va. – 74-74-86-79–313
Derek Brooks, Mullens, W.Va. – 78-79-77-80–314
Mitch Hoffman, Poca, W.Va. – 78-78-77-81–314
Philip Zambos, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. – 78-78-76-83–315
Walker Dent, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. – 79-76-80-80–315
Austin Florence, Charleston, W.Va. – 81-74-79-81–315
Camden Moore, Spencer, W.Va. – 82-73-79-82–316
Zach Gower, Clarksburg , W.Va. – 80-76-77-89–322
Jacob Workman, Chapmanville, W.Va. – 80-77-88-78–323
Caleb Cook, Oceana, W.Va. – 78-77-85-83–323
Alex Easthom, Ravenswood, W.Va. – 77-75-88-85–325
Jason McClanahan, Charleston, W.Va. – 86-70-88-85–329
Chris Boyd, Charles town, W.Va. – 73-76-80-WD–WD
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