Michael Caprio posts 65 to lead by one at Virginia Senior
Michael Caprio
Michael Caprio

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Michael Caprio (Reston National, Arlington) fired a 4-under-par 65 Monday at Cavalier Yacht & Golf Club to take the overnight lead after one round of stroke-play qualifying at the 68th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship.

Caprio, 52 and the runner-up in last year’s Senior Amateur, has a one-stroke lead over two-time defending champion Keith Decker, 55 (Chatmoss CC, Martinsville), and Jeff Fleishman, 61 (Club at Kingsmill, Williamsburg), each of whom posted 3-under 66.

Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying will determine the 32 players who advance to the match-play portion of the tournament that begins Wednesday with two matches. Fourteen players are at the unusual par of 69 or better after the first day.

Caprio recorded five birdies and a bogey in his first six holes. He double-bogeyed the 10th but bounced back with birdies at Nos. 13 and 17.

None of his birdie putts at Nos. 1-2, 4-6 was longer than 5 feet. Two of the birdies came on the short, tight layout’s only two par 5s.

“Clearly if you keep it in the middle, it’s not long and the greens are really nice so you can make some putts,” Caprio said.

The double bogey at 10 occurred after his approach shot plugged in the lip of a bunker.

“I’ve been looking forward to the event all year. This is my favorite format. At the end of the day, it’s just about getting to match play and then have fun,” said Caprio, who has his son, a Northeastern University student, with him this week. ““My thought process was: keep it in the middle and don’t do anything stupid. It’s good to get off to a good start. When you have a good time playing, it definitely shows up in the scores.”

Fleishman birdied the fourth, seventh and ninth holes to turn in 3-under and came home with nine consecutive pars. He hit all 18 greens in regulation and didn’t use his driver.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Fleishman said. “I was just guiding it around on the back nine. It was fun. The golf course is in absolutely perfect condition. You just have to shoot two solid scores to get to match play. If I get to match play, I might have to use my driver. We’ll see what happens.”

Decker double bogeyed the first hole, followed with three consecutive birdies, parred the fifth hole, eagled the par-5 sixth and finished with 12 pars in a row.

The four players at 1-under 68 are 2013 Senior Amateur runner-up and reigning VSGA Senior Stroke Play champion James Gallagher 56, (Tidewater Amateur Golf Tour, Yorktown); Philip Mahone, 51 (Farmington CC, Charlottesville); George Riefler, 59 (Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk); and Pete DeTemple, 53 (Old Hickory GC, California, Md.).

Among the players at 69 are past champions Vinny Giles, 72 (Kinloch GC, Richmond) and John Cuomo, 67 (Stonehenge G&CC, Richmond).

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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