1970:  Sam Snead had problems finding the Sandy Brae golf course near Amma in Roane County but once there he didn’t have any trouble playing the course while breezing to his 14th West Virginia Open title.  Snead shot 65 in a practice round and then fired 65, 69 and 66 in the tournament for a 54-hole total of 200 and a 12-stroke victory.  Snead had an eagle and 15 birdies on the par-70 course during the Open.  He won $650 out of a total purse of $5,500.  Defending champion Joe Taylor carded a final round 69 to take second place at 212.  Kenny Bowen finished third and was the low amateur at 213.  An overnight storm before the final round caused the Big Sandy River, which runs through the course, to flow over two bridges.  The golfers couldn’t get across to the 15th, 16th and 17th greens. Tournament officials decided to play the first, second and third holes twice.  The tournament was almost marred by a drowning accident when a 16-year-old member of the maintenance crew fell into the river while trying to clear some logs from underneath a bridge on the fourth hole.  He held onto a chain in the stream for five minutes before being pulled to safety.   Greg Powers, 18, of  Paden City was involved in a car wreck on his way to the Open and then in a golf cart accident on the course.  Billy Capps shot a course record 64 twice in practice.  A field of 182 players entered the Open.  Leaders by rounds: first, Snead 65, by four; second, Snead 134, by seven.

Sam Snead, White Sulphur Springs      65-69-66–200
Joe Taylor, South Charleston                  73-70-69–212
a-Kenny Bowen, South Charleston        71-70-74–215
a-Barney Thompson, Barboursville       69-74-73–216
a-John Shinn, Point Pleasant                 71-73-72–216
a-Bob Johnson, Charleston                   75-69-73–217
a-A.J. Gray, Wheeling                               77-72-68–217
Jerry Walker, Parkersburg                       72-75-70–217
Pete Byer, Huntington                              70-76-73–219
Billy Capps, Beckley                                75-73-72–220


1971:  Sam Snead withstood the challenges of Billy Capps and Barney Thompson at Bel Meadow Country Club near Clarksburg to capture his 15th West Virginia Open.  Rain and lightning caused the opening day round to be cancelled, reducing the tournament from 54 to 36 holes.  Snead shot 72 and 70 for a 142 total while Capps fired 73 and 70 for 143 and Thompson had 73 and 71 for 144.  State Amateur champion Thompson holed a 75-yard sand wedge shot for an eagle on the fifth hole in the final round to take a three-stroke lead over Snead.   Thompson came to the tricky 475-yard par-five 13th hole leading Snead by one and Capps by two.  Thompson hooked his drive and laid up short of a pond but pushed his third shot and the ball rolled back into the pond.  The ball was covered by a half-inch of water and Barney decided to play it.  He splashed the ball out but short of the green.  He pitched on and two-putted for a double bogey seven.  Meanwhile, Snead hit a long drive, smacked a one-iron shot on the green 12 feet past the pin and two-putted for a birdie four to take a two-stroke lead.  Thompson bogeyed 14 to drop three back but rallied with a birdie on 15 and a 30-foot chip-in birdie on 17.   Snead made a six-foot putt on 17 to stay ahead.   Snead two-putted 18 from 25 feet for a par while Thompson caught a greenside trap and bogeyed. Capps rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish a shot behind.  Snead won $700 and Capps $500 while Thompson received $195 in merchandise as low amateur. “”I’m going to take it all in golf  balls,” Thompson said. Leaders by rounds: first, Snead, Pete Byer and Jerry Ware 72s.

Sam Snead, White Sulphur Springs        72-70–142
Billy Capps, Beckley                                    73-70–143
a-Barney Thompson, Barboursville         73-71–144
Pete Byer, Huntington                                 72-75–147
Bud Harold, Fairmont                                 74-74–148
a-Slugger White, Beckley                           76-72–148
a-Mike Gocke, Bridgeport                           73-76–149
Roy Shreves, Moundsville                          78-74–152
a-Brian Harter (hometown not listed)      78-74–152
Jack Forbes, Morgantown                          78-74–152


1972:  For the second straight year, Sam Snead overtook Barney Thompson on the final nine holes to capture the West Virginia Open.  Snead shot rounds of  66, 70 and 70 at South Hills Golf Club in Parkersburg  for a 206 total to notch his 16th Open title.  Thompson, who had turned pro earlier, finished two strokes back with rounds of  69, 67 and 72 for 208.  Snead received a $600 check and a congratulary telegram from President Nixon while Thompson earned $450.  Thompson opened up a two-stroke lead after seven holes on the final day but tossed it all away when he four-putted the eighth green from 12 feet.  However, Thompson shook this off and made a seven-foot birdie putt on 9 to lead Snead by one.  But Snead pulled even with an 11-foot birdie putt on 10 and moved two ahead when Thompson three-putted the 11th and 12th greens. Snead sank a short three-footer on 13 to go three in front and protected his lead the rest of the way. Snead told Thompson, “”Thank you, Barney.  I tried to give it to you and you gave it back to me. You’ve got plenty of time to win this thing.  I’m going to turn it loose to you one of these days.” Thompson remarked, “”I just can’t beat that old man.  Maybe when he’s 70, one of us will beat him.”   Harold Payne, 17, was low amateur at 223 but couldn’t accept any prize because it would jeopardize his eligibility as a South Charleston High basketball player.  Leaders by rounds: first,  Snead 66, by three; second, Snead and Thompson, 136s.

Sam Snead, White Sulphur Springs       66-70-70–206
Barney Thompson, Barboursville            69-67-72–208
Billy Capps, Beckley                                   70-73-72–215
Roy Shreves, Moundsville                         74-71-71–216
Linden Meade, Chapmanville                  74-74-73–221
Jerry Walker, Parkersburg                        76-72-74–222
John Myers, Monongah                             77-73-72–222
a-Harold Payne, South Charleston         72-77-74–223
a-Art Lichiello,  Sistersville                        76-72-76–224
Bud Harold, Fairmont                                 75-73-77–225
Jim McKnight (hometown not listed)       78-75-72–225
Jimmy Scott (hometown not listed)         80-71-74–225


1973:  Sam Snead captured his fourth straight West Virginia Open and his 17th title overall with another dominating performance at Bridgeport Country Club.   Snead won by eight strokes while shooting rounds of  73, 69 and 70 for a 212 total.  Snead, 61, won $600.  It was the 146th victory of his amazing career. “”Yep, I still enjoy playing in the State Open. You know I first start playing the State Open in 1936 and all the guys I used to play with don’t come anymore.  Guys like Sims Browning of Huntington and Johnny Javins of Charleston are too old, I guess,” Snead said.  “”I don’t know what I’m still doing out here playing.  I guess I’m just too dumb to quit,” Snead added. Finishing second in the Open with a 220 total was Scott Bess, a Missouri native who played the mini-tours and heard about the Open while visiting his wife’s parents in Eleanor.  Pete Byer chipped in from 50 feet on the final hole to beat out Joe Taylor for third place.  Linden Meade hit his drives off an eight-inch high tee and said it helped him keep his ball in the fairway.  Homer Delovich, a Monongah mine foreman, took the first round lead with a 69 but faltered to an 80 in the second round while playing with Snead.  “”I was so scared I couldn’t take the club back,” Delovich said. Leaders by rounds: first, Delovich 69, by four; second, Snead 142, by two.

Sam Snead, White Sulphur Springs      73-69-70–212
Scott Bess, Eleanor                                   73-71-76–220
Pete Byer, Huntington                                73-72-77–222
Joe Taylor, South Charleston                   76-73-74–223
Billy Shreves, Bridgeport                           74-76-74–224
a-Homer Delovich, Monongah                 69-80-75–224
Linden Meade, Chapmanville                  75-78-72–225
Terry Smith, Paden City                             75-78-74–227
Bill Robertson, Pipestem                          78-77-73–228
George Hoffer, Hurricane                         77-76-76–229
a-Jim Goodwin, Bridgeport                      73-77-79–229


1974:  Blake Watt, 21, of Wheeling became just the third amateur, joining Bill Campbell and Ed Tutwiler, to win the West Virginia Open.  Watt, a senior on the Ohio University golf team, held off Parkersburg pro Jerry Walker for a two-stroke victory at Moundsville Country Club.  Watt shot even par rounds of  70 the first two days before slipping to 75 in the final round but his 215 total was good enough to win on his home course.  Walker trailed by eight strokes after 72 and 76 rounds but made a last-day charge with a 69 for a 217 total to close within two strokes.  Walker did earn the pros’ first prize of $800 while Watt received the amateur maximum prize of $200 in gift certificates.  Chip Yanen of  Moundsville blistered the Moundsville course with a 67 in the first round to take a three-stroke lead but fell back with 77 and 74 the next two days to finish at 218 in a tie for third with pro Linden Meade.  A field of 135 players competed for $6,000 in prizes. Defending champion Sam Snead didn’t enter the tournament.  Leaders by rounds:  first, Yanen 67, by three;  second, Watt 140, by four.


a-Blake Watt, Wheeling                           70-70-75–215
Jerry Walker, Parkersburg                       72-76-69–217
Linden Meade, Chapmanville                 75-70-73–218
a-Chip Yanen, Moundsville                      67-77-74–218
Mark Wheaton, Moundsville                     71-73-75–219
a-Benny Blake, Parkersburg                   74-76-70–220
a-Tom Murphy, Wheeling                         72-76-74–222
a-Chester Guzak, Moundsville                73-76-74–223
a-Jim Frush (hometown not listed)        77-71-75–223
a-Bob Nuenschwander, Sistersville      73-74-76–223
a-Will Postelwaite, Moundsville              71-75-77–223


1975:  Touring pro Barney Thompson broke a tie with pro Terry Smith in the final three holes on the Canaan Valley State Park course to become the West Virginia Open champion for the first time.  The first day’s round was rained out, reducing the tournament from 54 to 36 holes.   Both Thompson and Smith opened with 70s to share the lead.  Thompson had a 74 in the final round for a 144 total while Smith posted a 76 for 146.   They were tied with three holes remaining before Smith hit his tee shot into a water hazard in front of the green on the 230-yard 16th hole, taking a double bogey five.  Thompson put his ball on the green and two-putted for a par and a two-stroke edge. Smith birdied the par-5 17th hole to pull within one shot.  Then on the closing hole, Thompson got his par while Smith ran his 18-foot birdie attempt past the cup and wound up with a bogey.  Thompson added the Open title to three State Amateur crowns.  The tournament was played in cold weather, with the early starters in the final round teeing off in 26-degree temperature.  Leaders by rounds: first, Thompson and Smith 70s.

Barney Thompson, Barboursville      70-74–144
Terry Smith, Parkersburg                    70-76–146
Doug Ray, Moundsville                        75-72–147
a-Homer Delovich, Fairmont              73-74–147
Linden Meade, Chapmanville            73-75–148
a-Blake Watt, Wheeling                       76-72–148
Tom Caulson, Kingwood                    75-74–149
a-Harold Payne, South Charleston                149

(Note:  Only total score listed for Harold Payne, no individual rounds)


1976:  A year after finishing second, pro Terry Smith shot underpar scores the last two rounds to move up to the winner’s spot in the West Virginia Open at Preston Country Club in Kingwood.   Smith started slowly with a 77 but then shot a course record 69 on the par-72, 6,978-yard Preston course in the second round to grab a three-stroke lead.  Smith added a 70 in the final round to post a 216 total and finish four strokes ahead of runnerup pro Doug Ray of Bridgeport.  Smith collected $360.  Ray, who closed with a 71 for 220, earned $250.  Jack Forbes of Morgantown was the low amateur at 226 and received $250 worth of merchandise.  David Lester of the West Virginia University golf team was fourth at 228.  Pros Joe Taylor, Corky Chapman and Ray Monroe and amateurs John Ellwood, Jack Forbes and Ron Witt shared the first round lead with 74 scores.  In all, 93 pros and amateurs competed. Babe Baritell of  Kingwood aced the 207-yard 18th hole with a four-wood in the Open pro-am.  Leaders by rounds:  first, Taylor, Chapman, Monroe, Ellwood, Forbes and Witt 74s; second, Smith 146, by three.

Terry Smith, Paden City                   77-69-70–216
Doug Ray, Bridgeport                      76-73-71–220
a-Jack Forbes, Morgantown           74-77-75–226
a-David Lester, Enterprise               76-73-79–228
Mark Wheaton, Moundsville         76-76-77–229
Joe Taylor, South Charleston         74-76-79–229
a-Larry Spotloe, Philippi                  77-75-77–229
Linden Meade, Chapmanville         80-76-75–231
a-Jim Ward, Huntington                  77-76-78–231
a-Mike Gocke, Morgantown           78-76-77–231


1977:  Pro Barry Fleming of Vienna took the early lead and held off all contenders to grab  the title in the 44th West Virginia Open at Canaan Valley State Park.  Fleming fired a 32-36–68 round on the par-72, 6,800-yard course in the first round to take a one-stroke lead over Fairmont amateur Mark Welton.   Fleming maintained his one-shot lead with a second round 73 and then his 72 in the final round made him a two-stroke victor with a 213 total, three-under-par.   Mark Wheaton of Moundsville and amateur Randy Hillis of New Cumberland tied for second with 215 totals while Welton was fourth at 216.  Pro Bob Hillis, the father of Randy, tied for seventh at 219.   Welton, Moundsville pros Doug Ray and Chip Yanen and Morgantown amateur John Ellwood all shot 69 rounds during the tournament.  Defending champion Terry Smith wound up tied for seventh.  The field of 23 pros and 29 amateurs played in cool and windy September weather at Canaan Valley.  Leaders by rounds: first,  Fleming 68, by one; second, Fleming 141, by one.

Barry Fleming, Vienna                          68-73-72–213
Mark Wheaton, Moundsville                71-71-73–215
a-Randy Hillis, New Cumberland      73-71-71–215
a-Mark Welton, Fairmont                      69-73-74–216
Doug Ray, Moundsville                         74-69-74–217
Fletcher White, Daniels                        75-70-73–218
Bob Hillis, New Cumberland              74-73-72–219
a-John Ellwood, Morgantown             75-75-69–219
Terry Smith, Paden City                       73-72-74–219
Chip Yanen, Moundsville                    76-69-75–220


1978:  Barney Thompson, 29, took a break from the PGA Tour and returned to his home state to capture the West Virginia Open on the Greenbrier course at White Sulphur Springs.  Thompson played three steady rounds of 73, 72 and 73 for a 218 total while rolling to a nine-stroke victory and his second Open title.  Jim Jamieson, a former tour player and the current Greenbrier Director of Golf, finished second with rounds of 76, 77 and 74 for 227. Thompson earned $1,200 and Jamieson got $900.  It was the first tournament on the Greenbrier course since Jack Nicklaus redesigned it for the 1979 Ryder Cup matches, and the players found it extremely difficult.  Amateur MikeGocke of Morgantown had the only subpar round, a 71, in the second round.  Gocke tied for third with Greenbrier pro John Murphy with 228 totals.  Pro Hampton Auld of Charleston was the first round leader with a 72 and wound up tied for 10th.  The players had to contend with fog and gusty winds during the tournament.  Leaders by rounds: first, Auld 72, by one; second, Thompson 145, by three.

Barney Thompson, Barboursville              73-72-73–218
Jim Jamieson, White Sulphur Springs     76-77-74–227
a-Mike Gocke, Morgantown                         79-71-78–228
John Murphy, White Sulphur Springs        77-75-76–228
Nick Karl, Sistersville                                   75-76-78–229
Steve Wood, Parkersburg                           78-74-77–229
Barry Fleming, Vienna                                 80-72-78–230
John Bailey, Newell                                     76-77-78–231
Robert Harris, Daniels                                78-80-73–231
Hampton Auld, Charleston                         72-76-84–232
Dave Baker, Beckley                                    82-76-74–232
Bill Robertson, Pipestem                           76-78-78–232


1979:  Pro Benny Bowles of  Oak Hill edged amateur Bill Campbell in a head-to-head duel that went down to the last hole at Williams Country Club in Weirton.   Young Bowles, 22, shot a last-round 73 for a 54-hole total of 216 — even par for the tournament — and won $1,200.  The veteran Campbell finished with a 74 for a 217 total.  Bowles led Campbell by three strokes after 11 holes of the final round but gave them back by taking a bogey on 12 and a double bogey six on 13 after driving into the woods.  Bowles also bogeyed 15, putting Campbell into the lead, but pulled even again with a six-foot birdie putt on 17.  It came down to the 382-yard 18th hole.  Bowles drove in the fairway, put his second shot on the green and two-putted from 30 feet for a par.  Meanwhile, Campbell pushed his drive into heavy grass in the right rough and his second shot with a nine-iron wound up 10 feet short of the green.  His pitch-and-run third shot grabbed up 15 feet short of  the cup and his sidehill putt stayed above the hole, giving him a bogey.  Mark Wheaton fired a final 68, the best round of the Open, to finish third at 219.  Former champions Ed Tutwiler of Indianapolis  and Sam Snead of Hot Springs, Va., were given special invitations to play. Tutwiler tied for seventh at 224 while Snead, obviously tired from a month of tournament golf, tied for 12th with rounds of 73, 80 and 75 for 228. It was only the third time in 20 State Open appearances that Snead failed to win. Leaders by rounds:  first, Barney Thompson 70, by one; second, Bowles and Campbell 143s.

Benny Bowles, Oak Hill                                72-71-73–216
a-Bill Campbell, Huntington                        74-69-74–217
Mark Wheaton, Moundsville                         75-76-68–219
Barney Thompson, Barboursville               70-76-76–222
Darrell Kestner, Bluefield                             78-73-71–222
Jim Jamieson, White Sulphur Springs      74-74-75–223
Steve Head, Lavalette                                    71-78-75–224
Terry Smith, Paden City                                 72-78-74–224
a-Ed Tutwiler, Indianapolis, Ind.                  76-71-77–224
a-Scott Davis, Wheeling                                75-74-78–227
a–Jay Guthrie, Wheeling                               76-73-78–227