"My scoring average for the year is probably somewhere close to 68 or 69. I've done about five Monday qualifiers and I've finished in the top five in all five. My golf game's better than ever."
The Open will feature several of the state's top golfers including: Bob Friend, the pro at The Pines in Morgantown who was runner-up at the Open in 2011; Craig Berner, the pro at Edgewood Country Club who finished fourth last year and won it in 2005; Brad Westfall, a pro who is a five-time champ; John Ross, a two-time winner; and amateur Sam O'Dell, who tied with Berner for fourth last year and was also the low amateur. O'Dell upset Carter to win last month's West Virginia Mid-Amateur Championship.
Carter, a 13-time State Am champion and Hall of Fame inductee, pulled out due to an eye injury suffered earlier this year. The injury left Carter with muscle damage to his eye, which has caused blurred and degenerative vision.
"I'll be having my surgery early this week and I need to have everything ready by the time the State Amateur rolls around," Carter said in a release issued by the WVGA.
Carter is hopeful to be ready to return to action in time for the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic. Carter earned an exemption into the event by capturing last year's State Amateur.
Carter, who has never won the State Open, missed last year's championship because of a scheduling conflict.
Ken Tackett, the executive director of the WVGA, said the Parkersburg Country Club course is ready for the Open.
"Right now, it's prime," he said. "The fairways are in great shape. The fairway has been tightened up a bit and the greens are where you're able to cut [them] down tight and roll them. They're already really solid and it won't take much work at all to get them where we want them to be."
Tackett said the course will play at par 72 and 6,900 yards. He said the redone No. 1 tee box should offer quite a start.
"It has similar qualities to No. 1 at Old White [with an] elevated tee," he said. "It adds about 20 yards, which puts the bunker into play and the choke point in the rough. They've built a little patio around it. It's a neat theater for golf."
The Open festivities kicked off with Sunday's Coca-Cola Shootout, won by Hurricane's O'Dell. A two-session pro-am will take place today at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by practice rounds Tuesday.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.