The 2016 West Virginia Amateur was hosted by the Greenbrier Resort for the 17th consecutive year. The tournament spanned four days alternating between the Greenbrier Course and the Old White. Coming in to the final round all golfers were chasing the 54-Hole Leader – Alan Cooke, a member of the WVU Golf Team and a resident of Vienna.
A few local names climbed up the leaderboard during the week including Beckley resident and Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagle, Isaiah Zaccheo. Zaccheo had a difficult time navigating the back-9 Thursday finishing with a 5-over, 75, on the round, but the highlight was on 18 when Zaccheo came just a few feet from winning a brand new Mercedes.
“That was really a great way to end out the tournament,” said Zaccheo after the round. “I had a couple little hiccups as far as the driver goes, but I was able to rebound well most of the day. With 18 ending on a birdie and almost hitting a hole-in-one, that was really nice and a confidence booster going in to the next tournament that I have next weekend.” Zaccheo will participate in the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, KY beginning on Tuesday, June 14th. Zaccheo finished Tied for 13th place and earns an automatic bid for the West Virginia Open in July.
Another local golfer, Jeff McGraw coming out of Princeton finished today with an 8-over, 78. He ended the tournament tied for 9th Place and will also receive an automatic bid to the Open at Sleepy Hollow in July.
The winner of the 97th West Virginia Amateur was Alan Cooke from Vienna. Nobody could catch him after he really turned it on at the end with a birdie on 17 and a really nice birdie putt on 18 to put it away and win by a whopping 8 strokes. Cooke attributes his success this week to the help he received from his caddie, Gary Dent.
“I’ve struggled on the Old White for the last couple years,” said Cooke following his winning round. “And I finally got somebody that could tell me where to hit the putts and I started making a couple and getting a little confidence out there and it just kind of snowballed in to something special.” Cooke finished the tournament 1-under par shooting a 3-under, 67 Thursday and he helps put the WVU Golf Team back on the map with a 1st Place Finish. With the win, Cooke received a bid from Jim Justice to play in this year’s PGA Tour Event, the 2016 Greenbrier Classic beginning on July 7th.