PENHOOK, Virg. (May 20, 2014) –– The tandem of Keith Decker (Martinsville) and Pat Tallent (Vienna) shot a final day 5-under-par 67 to post a two-stroke victory as the 32nd Virginia State Golf Association Senior Four-Ball Championship concluded today at The Water’s Edge Country Club.
The team finished with a 13-under 131 aggregate to outlast first day co-leaders Jack Allara II (Salem) and Dave Pulk (Williamsburg), who closed with 3-under 69 (11-under 133). Three teams finished six strokes back at 7-under 137—Tom Grady (Marshall)-Al Bello (Stafford), as well as Tony De Luca (Purcellville)-Mark Adams (Alexandria) and Buddy Patch (Fairfax Station)-Dan DeRisio (Springfield). Grady-Bello signed for the low score of the day, a 6-under 66.
1779Decker (pictured right) and Tallent, two of the premier amateurs in the commonwealth, won in their first year teaming together in the championship, though they’ve partnered in other events played in a four-ball format.
“Pat and I have played together a lot and have had pretty good success,” Decker said. “We team well. He’s so steady. He never makes a mistake and it frees me up to go for it a little bit more, so we team pretty well.”
After shooting 4-under 32 on the outward half, Allara-Pulk moved to 12 under for the championship and opened up a two-stroke lead on Decker-Tallent, with whom they were grouped on the last day. Allara and Pulk each contributed two birdies apiece on the first nine holes. They pushed their lead to three shots after Pulk drilled his 4-iron tee shot to 6 feet at the par-3 11th hole for an eventual birdie.
But that would be their last birdie of the day. Decker-Tallent used a closing surge to take the title. Decker knocked in a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 12th hole. Allara horseshoed out his par chance two holes later, reducing he and his partner’s lead to a single stroke.
Thereafter, Tallent drained an uphill 8-footer for birdie at No. 16 to move the team to 12 under. Pulk missed a short par chance at the same hole as Decker-Tallent grabbed their first lead of the day. Decker then hit the green in two shots at the par-5 17th and two-putted for birdie. He and Tallent got to 13 under and owned a two-stroke lead heading to the last to ultimately complete their rally.
“Both teams played pretty well today,” Decker said. “It was a well-fought match. It’s always nice to have a good comeback and to play strong down the stretch.”
Allara-Pulk accounted for 13 birdies against two bogeys in the two-day competition, but somehow it wasn’t enough.
“They played a little better on the last five holes and that was the difference,” Pulk said. “It was a good couple of days of golf. They made a couple of birdies coming in and when you do that, you deserve to win.”
The 54-year-old Decker, the winner of 20 ‘major’ VSGA titles, including a record six victories at the regular Four-Ball, now owns three of the most significant association titles for seniors in the same rotation. He won the Senior Amateur and Senior Stroke Play in 2013 and now has his name on the Senior Four-Ball trophy.
View results for Virginia Senior Four-Ball Golf Championship