FREDERICKSBURG –– Central Virginians John Cuomo (Richmond) and Tom Hackett (Powhatan) erased a three-shot closing day deficit, matched a final round best with a 6-under-par 65 and posted a comeback victory to claim the 23rd Virginia State Golf Association Senior Four-Ball Championship, which concluded today at Cannon Ridge Golf Club (6,415 yards, par 35-36—71).
Cuomo-Hackett finished with a 9-under-par 133 aggregate (68-65) and concluded play a shot clear of Northern Virginians David A. King (Sterling)-Gil FitzHugh (Fairfax), who also had a final round 65 (134, -8). Richmond residents Stan Fischer and Thomas Orr (67, -4) placed third at 7-under-par 135. In equaling the 2005 championship’s low round, Cuomo-Hackett’s late charge catapulted them to their second VSGA Senior Four-Ball title in the past three years, having also triumphed in 2003 at Stoney Creek at Wintergreen in Nellysford.
King-FitzHugh, who carded a first round 69, were playing five groups ahead of Cuomo-Hackett on the last day and posted an eight under aggregate. Unaware of what was happening on the leader board ahead of them, Hackett drained a five-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th hole to get to eight under and tie the lead. Thereafter, Cuomo (pictured right) hit a 6-iron to within 10 feet at the par-3 17th hole, before holing the slippery downhill putt. The birdie moved the tandem to nine under for the championship and gave them the lead for good. Cuomo-Hackett easily parred the par-5 18th to claim victory.
Altogether, Cuomo-Hackett played a bogey-free round, rode consistent ball-striking and a hot putter to the finish.
“We didn’t make mistakes today, as opposed to the first round when we made two bogeys and didn’t birdie either of the par 5s on the back nine,” Hackett said. “We both gave ourselves more chances today.”
Longtime four-ball partners, Cuomo-Hackett, who finished second in the senior division of the Belle Haven Four-Ball at Alexandria’s Belle Haven Country Club, which concluded on May 1, broke through for the title.
“We’re a good combination. John is steady and straight and I’m long and ‘birdieable,’” laughed Hackett.
The winners jumped into immediate contention by playing the outward half in three under, with Cuomo draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 second hole, while Hackett followed it up by knocking in a 10-footer at the par-5 third. They completed the front nine with a birdie at the ninth, as Hackett (pictured right) blasted a drive that left him just a sand wedge approach to the dogleg right 400-yard hole. His approach came to rest within 12 feet of the hole location and he knocked in the putt to send them to six under for the championship.
Cuomo, the 2004 VSGA Senior Amateur champion, then birdied the par-4 13th hole, hitting his 7-iron approach to 3 feet to set up their late run to the title.
King-FitzHugh, who were a part of a bunched leader board heading into final round action, made the move of the day, combining for seven birdies against one bogey. The team turned in two under and made birdie at the par-5 12 hole to get to five under for the championship. Thereafter, King-FitzHugh birdied three of the final four holes (Nos. 15, 17 and 18), sinking putts inside of 12 feet at each to post what was at the time the best round of the day prior to Cuomo-Hackett’s late charge.