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WV Amateur Golf: Two friends wage a classic

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The Greenbrier was home once again in 2018 to West Virginia's top amateur golf. The annual State Am was played over four days, with both the Old White and Meadows Course being used. And the 99th edition had two great champions, who both live in Hurricane, battling to the end.

. . .

As they entered the fourth and final round on the Old White, Pat Carter was searching for his 14th title. Meanwhile, Sam O'Dell was gunning for his fourth.

And by the 16th hole, they were tied.

"He's good at taking advantage of those situations, especially on 16," said O'Dell. "I'm surprised, thought he might make that putt. Then going to 17 he's still got the momentum. Surprised me the second shot he hit. You have to take advantage when you win that many times. You can't give them away, you know it."

Carter said, "I had been playing well all week and today was probably my best ball-striking round of the entire tournament. And I just could not get the putts to go."

O'Dell emerged victorious over one of his closest friends.

"You know when to say something and when not to say something," Carter said. "I didn't think after he hit his shot on 16, I'd probably let him keep to himself for quite awhile. Same way with me missing putts. He doesn't mention anything like that.

"You know it was great playing with him all day. We still talked the whole day. We didn't say as much but would still give looks. You know like he'd ask me if I was having fun on like 14 or 15. He said, 'Are you having fun?' I said, 'I've been waiting a long time for this. He said, 'Me, too.'"

It was the first time these two champions had ever been paired in the State Am's final 18 holes of play.

"Hats off to Sam. Sam's a great guy. He's a great champion. He limits his mistakes and makes very few bogeys, Carter said. "That's what it takes to win a 72-hole event.

"I'm from Hurricane," O'Dell said. "So is Harold Payne, that's where he's from. He has five. He has five of those and four opens. I've dreamed about catching him."

He's a step closer after edging out another one of the state's Hall of Famers.

The tournament victory was O'Dell's second straight. By virtue of his 2017 State Am win, O'Dell will get to play in this year's PGA Tour event at The Greenbrier. On Tuesday, the PGA approved a new name for the West Virginia tournament. Moving forward, it will now own the title of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.


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