Virginia Senior: Partridge is medalist

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Aug. 27, 2013) –– Central Virginian David Partridge (Manakin) shot even-par 70 on day two of on-site qualifying to earn medalist honors at the 66th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship being conducted at Farmington Country Club.

Partridge, the 2011 event champion, posted a 1-under 139 aggregate (69-70) and was the only competitor to complete qualifying with two rounds of par or better on the undulating and demanding 6,297-yard, par-70 layout. He owns the top seed for match play which begins on Wednesday.

Reigning VSGA Senior Stroke Play winner Keith Decker of Martinsville carded a day-two best 1-under 69, improving his first round score by four strokes. Decker and Dave Pulk of Williamsburg, who returned consecutive rounds of 1-over 71, each finished qualifying at 2-over 142 to earn the second and third seeds, respectively.

Northern Virginians Larry Spielberg of Gainesville and Buddy Patch of Fairfax Station each registered rounds of 70-73 to complete the top five low qualifiers for match play at 3-over 143.

Starting his round on No. 11, Partridge was two over par through his first five holes, but turned things around by making four of his five birdies in a 10-hole stretch from Nos. 18-9, playing that span of holes in three under par. Partridge managed the pace of his putts on Farmington’s slick greens in that span and each of his chances during that run was inside 8 feet. His longest make of the day was a 25-footer at his second hole of the day, the par-4 12th.

“I hit a few scratchy shots early in the round, then kind of settled in, had a lot of good birdie chances and converted coming in,” Partridge said. “All in all, it was a pretty solid round of golf.”

Farmington is hosting the VSGA Senior Amateur for the first time and its demand for exacting play was evident during qualifying. Partridge, who played the course while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and won the Kenridge Invitational at the layout five times, still seems to know its subtleties.

“I’ve played it a lot of times,” Partridge said. “I had to laugh at myself a little bit over the first two days. I’ve always felt like I knew the greens pretty well at Farmington, but I misread more than my share the first couple of days. It’s always a treat to play Farmington. It’s such a special golf course.

“It was generally a pretty solid couple of days. I didn’t hit anything that was too much of a foul ball. I was able to play fairly consistently well.”

Partridge was the qualifying medalist in 2011 at The Homestead’s Cascades Course and went on to win his first Senior Amateur. He’s hoping for a repeat of that feat this time around.

“At my age, I’m hoping for anything that works well with the likes of Keith Decker, and others, in the field,” laughed the 58-year-old Partridge, who has partnered with Decker to claim three VSGA Four-Ball titles.

Decker, fourth among points’ leaders in the regular division of the VSGA player rankings, entering the event, played steadily with three birdies against two bogeys; he shot 2-under 34 on Nos. 1-9.

Pulk had two birdies and three bogeys for a second straight round to grab the third seed. Like Decker and Partridge, Pulk has plenty of championship pedigree on his side. He had a strong 2012 season, which included reaching the round of 32 at the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. He’s also played in two U.S. Amateurs, the U.S. Mid-Amateur as well as the British Amateur and the British Mid-Amateur. He qualified for the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club’s West Course at the age of 48.

At the conclusion of stroke-play qualifying, 32 golfers with a score of 11-over 151 or better advanced to the match play portion of the championship.

Both the first and second rounds of match play are set for Wednesday, Aug. 28 followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday, Aug. 29 and the scheduled 18-hole final on Friday, Aug. 30.

ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Amateur

36 holes of stroke play qualifying (18 holes per day); the low 32 players advance to match play. Open to VSGA members who are at least 50 years of age holding an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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