HOT SPRINGS, VA (August 24, 2016) -- Two-time champion and top seed Keith Decker (Chatmoss Country Club, Martinsville) won two matches Wednesday and led seven other competitors into the quarterfinals of the 69th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship at The Omni Homestead Resort’s Cascades Course.
Joining Decker, 56, are defending champion David Partridge (Hermitage CC, Manakin); first-time Senior Amateur entrant Scott Reisenweaver (Salisbury CC, Midlothian); Dave Pulk (Two Rivers CC, Williamsburg), who reached the quarters for the third year in a row; Rich Buckner (Robert Trent Jones GC, Clifton); 73-year-old two-time champion Vinny Giles (Kinloch GC, Richmond); Leon Roday (Kinloch GC, Henrico); and Mark Alonzi (Stonehenge G&CC, Richmond).
Five of the eight quarterfinalists are from the Richmond area.
Players with single-digit seeds had a tough day on Wednesday. Only Decker and Pulk (No. 5) remain. Giles is the 10th seed, Roday No. 14; Buckner No. 18; Alonzi No. 22; Partridge No. 25; and Reisenweaver No. 29.
Decker, who won the tournament medal for the third year in a row, continued his stellar play while eliminating Michael McGowan (Reston National, Bethesda, Md.) 7 and 5 and Neil Davis (Birdwood GC, Charlottesville) 5 and 4. Against Davis, Decker won the first three holes, lost the next three then won five of the next seven.
Decker’s opponent in the quarterfinals is Partridge, his good friend and frequent partner in best-ball events. The two have played each other three times, all in the VSGA Amateur. Decker has won twice.
“We obviously know each other’s games extremely well having played hundreds of times together,” Partridge said. “It’s a situation where each one of us is going to not think about the other one, we’re only going to try to play our game… I’m going to have to be on the top of my game and hope that maybe he’s a little bit off on his game and maybe that combination, if I play extremely well, might get me an opportunity to win the match. He’s a great player and the class of the field…the road to the championship goes right through him.”
The vagaries of qualifying for match play dealt Partridge, 61, a tough draw. He defeated 2013 Senior Amateur runner-up Jim Gallagher (Tidewater Amateur Golf Tour, Yorktown) 2 and 1 in the morning round. That was a rematch of last year’s semifinal in which Partridge rallied from 3 down with four holes to play to send the match to extra holes where he won on the 20th with a birdie.
“He’s a great player. He’s qualified for the U.S. Mid and U.S. Senior and has won a lot of events, but that happens in match play,” Partridge said. “I was fortunate I was 1 up teeing off on 16, and I managed to make an eagle there and get 2 up and that was the ultimate difference.”
Then, in an afternoon match of past champions, Partridge took a 3-up lead through nine holes and sent home 2008 winner Charles Green III (The Virginian GC, Tazewell) 2 and 1.
“With Charlie, I played well on the front but wasn’t quite as sharp on the back but hung on and won. I made a nice birdie on 17 to close that out.”
Pulk had to go 20 holes in his morning match with David Price (Stoneleigh G&CC, Purcellville). Price won the last two holes of regulation to extend the match, but Pulk won with a par on the second extra hole. Pulk eliminated Rick LaReau (Hermitage CC, Glen Allen) 2 up in the afternoon.
Pulk faces Reisenweaver who beat No. 4 seed Tim Vigotsky (Farmington CC, Centreville) 4 and 2 and Bob Bailey (James River CC, Yorktown) in 19 holes. Reisenweaver made par on the extra hole.
Buckner defeated Gary Leroux (Blacksburg CC, New Castle) 4 and 3 and No. 2 seed Jon Zampedro (Pleasant Valley GC, Centreville) 2 and 1.
Giles is Buckner’s opponent. Giles slipped by Jack Allara II (Hidden Valley CC, Salem) 2 up in the morning by winning two of the last three holes, then he toasted Steve Castro (Herndon Centennial, Chantilly) 6 and 5 in the afternoon.
“The last three days I kind of found something that works. It could absolutely be shot tomorrow,” Giles said. “I’m not worn out. [Making the quarters] far exceeds my expectations. My goal when I come to these things now, I only play if it’s somewhere I think I’m going to enjoy like the Cascades (he won six of his seven VSGA Amateur titles at the Cascades). My goal is to make match play. I don’t think I’ve won a first-round match the last two or three times I’ve played. I’m fortunate I played really well this morning and really well this afternoon. It was kind of fun.”
Roday rolled to a 5 and 4 morning victory over Bill Engel (Army Navy CC, Alexandria). He won the last three holes to squeeze out a 1 up victory over Pete DeTemple (Old Hickory GC, California, Md.).
Alonzi is Roday’s opponent in the only all-Richmond area match. Alonzi won both his matches 1 up. He eliminated Mark Rallas (Raspberry Falls G&HC, Leesburg) in the morning and Chris Clemens (Roanoke CC, Salem) in the afternoon.
Alonzi won the 14th and 15th holes to go 1 up then held on against Rallas. He followed a similar script against Clemens, winning the back-to-back par-5s, Nos. 16 and 17, with birdies to take a 1 up lead. They halved the 18th.
View results for Virginia Senior Amateur Golf Championship