Easthom ties for 23rd at 88th West Virginia Open

Mark Martin
Following the first two rounds of the State Am, Alex Easthom ends up at the top of the leaderboard.

While it certainly was not at all the finish Ravenswood’s Alex Easthom had hoped for, his final day certainly made things a bit more pleasing after two tough opening rounds.

Easthom, a former Ravenswood Red Devil golf standout and the reigning West Virginia State Amateur champion, placed in a five-way tie for 23rd at the 88th annual West Virginia Open, which was played last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport. Easthom had a three-day total of 234 (18-over).

David Bradshaw won his 12th title of the prestigious Open, which features both professionals and amateurs from around the state, by finishing at 5-under with a three-day total of 211.

Bradshaw had rounds of 72, 68 and 71 during the three-day event on the par-72 Pete Dye layout.

For Easthom, his goal was simple heading into the tournament and that was to emerge as the first amateur champion since 2004, when Bradshaw captured his first of 12 crowns while still playing as an amateur.

Easthom, a 2017 Ravenswood High graduate, was coming off many highs on the links in the span of a year.

In addition to the West Virginia State Amateur title last summer, he was named the Mountain East Conference’s Player of the Year and earned First Team All-MEC honors for his performance at West Liberty State University this spring.

Easthom got off to a rocky start at this year's Open with an 8-over-par 80.

“The first round was a struggle,” said Easthom, who tied for 27th in the 2020 Open on the grounds of The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels with former champ and professional John Ross. “I hit the ball well outside of maybe two or three shots. I putted awful. The course setup was a big topic of discussion because they almost made it too tough. Holes were tipped out and pins were tucked, others and myself included talked about how hard it was to get some of the hole locations.”

Easthom’s opening round was followed up with a 79.

“The second round was just like the first. I struck the ball great, but putting let me down,” he said. “I should have been 3-under after five holes but I was 3-over instead.”

He was in a two-way tie for 40th going into the final 18 holes of play at 15-over.

It was there he closed with a round of 75.

“The final round was better,” he noted. “The course setup was better besides a couple of pins that were set on down slopes. I struck it well again and still did not putt well. But the eagle finish was a nice way to end the week.”

Easthom tied with Josh Arbaugh, Ross, Jacob Nickell and Jackson Hill.

Bradshaw edged out Mason Williams of Bridgeport, who ended at 2-under.

Bridgeport’s Woody Woodyard was third at 2-over while defending champion Kenny Hess of Parkersburg was fourth at 3-over.

Nick Fleming of Cabins was fifth at 4-over.

Easthom says he will use the Open for motivation as he turns his attention to winning a second straight State Am title.

“I’m extremely excited to defend my title at the State Am and hopefully I can bring it back to Jackson County again,” said Easthom, who has a season and possibly two (due to COVID-19) left at West Liberty.

The 102nd annual West Virginia State Amateur takes place at The Greenbrier Aug. 1-4.