WHEELING - Practice round?
Owen Elliott doesn't need a practice round.
One of the best-known golf axioms holds that course knowledge goes a long way to winning a golf tournament.
Photo by Dave Morrison/Ryan Palmer hits out of the fairway on the No. 12 Saturday during the 15th Annual Stoney Hollow Amateur Championship on the Palmer Course at Oglebay Park.
Elliott, a 16-year-old junior-to-be at Hedgesville High School, did his best to disprove that adage by firing a four-under 67 Saturday in the first round of the 15th Annual Stoney Hollow Amateur Championship on the Palmer Course at Oglebay Park.
He had never seen the course before, let alone play it.
"When you play on a new course, you have no previously past bad shots," Elliott said. "I had a clean slate coming in here as far as that goes. I just played golf and David provided the course knowledge."
David is David Coram, a Linsly golfer who invited Elliott down for the tournament. The two meet playing on the Calloway Junior Golf Tournament a few years ago.
Despite his round, which included four straight birdies on holes No. 13, 14, 15 and 16 and a 30 on the backside, Elliott said he was surprised by the round, which leaves him in the thick of the chase for the trophy.
"When David explained the tournament, I thought we were going to just go out and have fun," Elliott said. "I had no idea I was going to shoot the score I did. Especially after a 37 on the front side."
Coram wasn't surprised.
"Not at all, I knew he was a good player," the Wheeling native said. "I told him after that round, from now on we are partners in these events."
The teenage duo is also in play for the best ball championship.
Not that Elliott had played close to the Palmer, qualifying for the state tournament last October which was played on Oglebay's Jones Course, which is where Elliott will play.
"I didn't play real well," Elliott recalled. "I think I was tied for 13th. So coming back I had no expectations of shooting a 67."
Today, he has a chance to capture the crown in one the regions premier amateur golf outing.
Paul Kurtz has been here before.
He has been in contention for the Senior Title at the Stoney Hollow Amateur before.
He is drawing up a new plan this year.
"Last night I sat down and drew some pictures with my daughter," he said. "I came out and played pretty steady today. I didn't make many mistakes. I had one three putt but I made a couple of putts that I normally wouldn't make. I'm going to go home and maybe draw some more pictures with my daughter."
The event is the most anticipated of the Ohio Valley golf season.
"It's a lot of fun, but it's also very competitive," Kurtz said. "The courses are set up so well. It's a great test of golf. I look forward to it every year."