DQ dampens Cooke’s round

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -Rule 6.6D put a damper on Alan Cooke’s quest to challenge for this week’s 95th annual West Virginia Amateur Championship at The Greenbrier.

Following the completion of Thursday’s first round at The Meadows Course, the live scoring showed Cooke tied for second place at 2-under par 68. The 19-year-old from Vienna noticed his score was incorrect and was aware what was about to develop as soon as he checked in with tournament officials.

“The ruling is the failure to sign the correct scorecard,” West Virginia Golf Association executive director Brad Ullman said. “Alan signed for a score that was lower than what he actually received. He left the scoring area, and that was the last time to make corrections to the scorecard.

“Alan went to change clothes and looked at the live scoring and knew his score was not correct. But like the true gentleman he is, he came to me about the issue and knew what the repercussions were. He certainly took the high road and I have a lot of respect for him.”

As a result, Cooke was disqualified and left Madison’s Harry Howell in sole possession of second place at 68 – one stroke behind first-round leader Woody Woodward of Bridgeport, who made seven birdies as part of his 3-under 67.

The only other golfer to turn in a red number was Wheeling’s Thadd Obecny, who carded a 69.

“We looked at Alan’s scorecard shot by shot and sure enough he had scored a five on the 18th hole and not a four,” Ullman said. “Alan was shocked a little bit because he fired a great score. But he did the right thing by coming to the committee. He knew going into the conversation that the result would be disqualification. I admire him for his honesty.”

With Cooke exiting the field, Williamstown’s Austin Root becomes the Mid-Ohio Valley’s highest representative in the field. The 20-year-old missed the cut during his first three appearances at the West Virginia Am and had never broke 80 until Tuesday when he completed the first round tied for 12th place at 72.

“I was feeling good out there,” Root said. “I hit the ball real well and hit greens – I just couldn’t hit the birdie putts.”

Root opened with a bogey on his first hole but birdied No. 3 and No. 7, and was even-par through 10 holes. He nearly eagled the third hole after his 9-iron approach shot settled 1 foot from the pin.

“I thought it had a chance to go in, but it went just right of the hole,” Root said. “I definitely left a couple of shots out there, but I’ll take the 72. If I could have signed for a 72 before my round started, I would have taken it.”

Also making the top 20 was Mason’s Trent Roush, who played even-par during his final 12 holes and finished with a 73 – the same score turned in by defending champion Sam O’Dell of Hurricane.

One stroke behind Roush at 74 were Spencer’s Richard Moore and Elizabeth’s Matt Moore. Matt Moore was sitting at even-par through 11 holes before suffering back-to-back double-bogeys. As for Richard Moore, he birdied four holes and was even-par through 15 holes then slipped with a bogey and double-bogey on consecutive holes.

Also seeking to stay above the cut is Mineral Wells’ Alex Schreckengost, who birdied three holes and finished tied for 33rd place with a 75.

Rounding out the local contingent were Spencer’s Cole Moore (76), Mason’s Mitch Roush (76), Parkersburg’s Michael Koreski (77), Parkersburg’s Mike Lewis (78), Vienna’s Ollie Fankhauser (79) and Glenville’s Travis Woodford (81).

Today’s second round is scheduled for the Old White Course.