Local golfers in contention

VIENNA – A stomach virus nearly shelved Kenny Hess for this week’s 80th West Virginia Open.

Fortunately, the golfer from Parkersburg was scheduled for a later tee time on his home course at Parkersburg Country Club and managed to overcome the aches and pains to turn in a round of even par 72.

Hess joins Vienna’s Scott Bibbee as the lowest scores recorded by local golfers. The duo trails the leaders – David Bradshaw and Ian Patrick -by three strokes entering today’s second round.

“It wasn’t a good day on Tuesday,” Hess said. “I started about 10 p.m. getting some kind of stomach bug. I don’t know what it was. It was about 3 in the morning and I was going to text (the West Virginia Golf Association) and tell them I couldn’t play.”

Several hours of sleep did the trick to a degree. After making bogey on his second hole, he later birdied back-to-back holes before completing his front nine at 1-under 35.

“I came here and every swing was hurting for the first six or seven holes,” Hess said. “For as bad as it was, I can’t complain.”

Hess gave back three strokes in the next four holes, including a double-bogey on one of the toughest rated holes at No. 13. He collected himself in time to finish his round with birdies on his last two holes.

“I’m a little weak and my stomach is still hurting now,” Hess admitted. ” But I guess you can say I didn’t play myself out.”

Bibbee, meanwhile, stayed in contention with an impressive par putt on the course’s toughest hole at No. 16 – a 469-yard, par 4.

“My whole game felt better and more comfortable,” Bibbee said. “I’ll just go out tomorrow and see if I can make a few more putts and get under par.”

Another local golfer making a strong bid was Vienna’s Alan Cooke, who carded a 1-over 73. The 18-year-old was even par until he suffered a consecutive bogeys on his 15th and 16th hole. His birdie on the 18th hole

“My putter killed me today,” Cooke said. “Otherwise, I was hitting it well.

“Hopefully, I will have a good day (Thursday). Maybe we will get some fresh greens which will give a better opportunity to score.”