CHARLOTTESVILLE – Past champion Scott Shingler (Evergreen Country Club, Haymarket) began his day with an eagle and concluded his day with a 4-under-par 66 and the lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying in the 102nd Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship at Farmington Country Club.
Shingler, 43, winner of the VSGA Amateur in 2011, is two shots clear of Elmer Amaya, 46 (Washington G&CC, Falls Church), who shot 68. Tuesday’s second day of qualifying will determine the 32 players who advance to match play beginning Wednesday.
Defending champion Jake Mondy will not be one of them. Mondy, 22, of Blacksburg and Auburn University, withdrew before Monday’s round because of a neck injury sustained during the Northeast Amateur last week.
Another Washington G&CC player, Addison Coll, 19, of Fairfax registered a 1-under 69 as Coll#18 (2)only the third player to shoot under par.
Logan Yates, 17 (Greene Hills Club, Ruckersville), and Maclain Huge, 21 (Loudoun G&CC, Lovettsville) returned even par 70.
Five players, including last week’s VSGA Junior Match Play champion Mark Lawrence Jr., 18 (Hermitage CC, Richmond), and last year’s VSGA Amateur runner-up Jordan Utley, 29 (Independence GC, Richmond), are at 71. Ten players shot 72.
Shingler’s card showed four 2s: the eagle on the par-4 first hole and birdies on three of the par 3s (Nos. 2, 6 and 17). He birdied the par-14th and bogeyed two difficult par-4s, the eighth and 18th.
Shingler used a 50-degree wedge from 110 yards for the eagle.
“I had a good number. [The ball] hit about a yard past the hole and spun back into the hole,” Shingler said.
At the second, he hit his tee shot 6 feet from the hole and sank the putt to go 3 under after two holes. He made an 8-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole and stuffed his tee shot at No. 17 to 18 inches.
Shingler called the birdie putt on the par-4 14th “a gift. It was a 25-footer straight down the hill. It was pretty speedy; it was a double breaker, and I ended up making it.”
Shingler is familiar with Farmington’s hilly and testing 6,575 yards and the speedy, sloped greens that put competitors on the defensive, having played in the club’s premier event, the Kenridge Invitational, on a number of occasions.
“It’s not an easy golf course. I knew if you can shoot anywhere around par, you’re fine…With the two-day stroke play qualifier, I treat that as its own little tournament and try to win it,” Shingler said. “Whatever happens after 36 holes happens…a lot of the holes par is a very good score. Ten of the 18 I’d take par any day and wouldn’t think twice about it. You’ve got maybe seven holes that are possible birdie holes depending on where the pins are.”
His game plan won’t change for Tuesday.
“If there are a few holes where the numbers match up pretty well with my clubs, I may have a green light and go after the pin, but I’m not going to be super aggressive,” he said. “[I’ll] plot my way around the course and try to put up a decent number.”
Amaya has played in three VSGA Amateurs in the past but has not qualified for match play. He turned professional for a couple of years but regained amateur status in 2013. He saw Farmington for the first time in Sunday’s practice round.
“I played with a member, and he was very helpful. He got me through it. The greens are great. It’s very similar to my home course,” Amaya said.
His Monday score included four birdies and two bogeys. One of the birdies was a 2 at the exacting, 222-yard par-3 10th.
“This gives me a lot of confidence. A little cushion going into (Tuesday) and to make the cut,” he said. “I got a good feel for the speed [on the greens] and I was confident if I needed to make a seven-footer I was going to make it.”