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Champions Crowned at the Virginia Mid-Senior, Super Senior
NEWPORT NEWS, VA (October 6, 2017) — Three past Virginia State Golf Association champions added titles to their respective resumes Friday morning at James River Country Club, and another player earned his first VSGA title at the 2nd VSGA Mid-Senior Amateur and 23rd VSGA Super Senior Amateur championships.

Leon Roday (Kinloch GC) put his name in the VSGA record books for the first time, winning the Mid-Senior Amateur Championship in convincing fashion. In the Super Senior Amateur, all three age-group champions had previously won VSGA events: Mike McDonald (65-69), Bill Engel (70-74), and Ned Baber (75 and over).

2nd Mid-Senior Amateur Championship

Roday, who needed 20 holes to defeat Dave Pulk in Thursday’s semifinals, made birdie on No. 1 in his championship match against Jim Wright (Roanoke CC) and never looked back. He turned with a 3-up lead and won the first three holes of the back nine to go dormie after 12 holes. Roday and Wright both made par on No. 13, sealing Roday’s 6-and-5 victory.

“James River did a fantastic job with the golf course,” Roday said. “The greens were in great shape. The putts were all true to the line you chose. And I was able to choose some good lines.”

Wright, who returned this year to competitive golf after 16 years away and two knee replacement surgeries, was the No. 3 seed after stroke-play qualifying. He never got going on Friday, however, playing his 13 holes at 4 over par. Roday, who will play for the Virginias’ side at the upcoming Captain’s Putter Matches, took advantage and cruised to victory.

23rd VSGA Super Senior Amateur Championship

65-69

McDonald (Two Rivers CC), the 2009 VSGA Senior Amateur champion, went through a bit of a drought before getting back in the winners’ circle last year at the VSGA Super Senior Four-Ball Championship. The top seed in his age group, he grinded through three tough matches to earn his third VSGA championship.

He topped Mike Ancel (Newport News GC at Deer Run) 2 and 1 in the final. McDonald never trailed, but he couldn’t put away the pesky Ancel, either. The winning moment came on the 17th green, when Ancel caught an unfortunate break.

“He hit the best shot I saw in the tournament,” McDonald said. “But he was above the hole. He had a very hard putt from four feet, and it went six feet by and he missed it coming back.” McDonald made his par to win the match. He secured a pair of 1-up wins on Thursday to reach the final.

“I’ve been playing well and hitting the ball pretty good,” McDonald said. “Putted a lot better today, and that always helps. I won the Senior in 2009 and I had a long drought. So it’s kind of nice to get two in two years’ time.”

70-74

Engel (Army Navy CC) hit a knee-knocking, downhill 3-footer for par to hold off defending age-group champion Jim Hudson (Salisbury CC). The look of relief was evident on Engel’s face. After making a par on No. 3 to take a 1-up lead, Engel led the rest of the match. But Hudson never went away, cutting Engel’s 3-up lead after 10 holes to 1 up on two occasions.

“I could not shake him,” said Engel, who won his third VSGA title. “He’s a perfect gentleman. He’s a fighter, and he never gave up. I just feel very fortunate, humble and honored to be here, to tell you the truth.”

The 70-74 championship was the day’s most exciting match, with each player matching great shot after great shot. On the par-3 13th hole, Hudson drained an 18 footer for birdie, and Engel calmly answered by dunking his own 20-foot birdie putt. Hudson had a golden opportunity to square the match on 14, but his comeback par putt stopped about six inches short of the cup.

Still, Engel had to make that tricky comebacker on 18 to clinch the title, no easy feat considering everything above the hole proved to be a tough putt on James River’s slick greens. “(Hudson) and I started playing in these events five years ago,” Engel said. “I’ve probably played 10-15 times with him, and he’s just a wonderful guy to play with. He’s a great guy, and oh by the way, he hits it longer than I do.”

75 and over

Baber (Roanoke CC) took his first lead against O.D. Gardner (The Woodlands GC) after No. 2, and he gradually pulled away for a 4-and-3 victory for his sixth VSGA title, 57 years after he won his first championship at the 1960 VSGA Amateur.

Now 80, Baber needed to rally after the first day of stroke play to make the match-play cut. He survived a 19-hole semifinal on Thursday and took advantage of Gardner’s flat-stick struggles to win Friday.

“I got some good breaks, and his putter acted up on him,” Baber said.

Baber pushed his lead to 3 up after 11 holes, and he caught a fortunate break on No. 12, a dogleg par-4 hole. He hit a tree with his approach shot but managed to get up and down from well off the green to salvage par and halve the hole. He won the match on 15 when both players made par.

ABOUT THE Virginia Mid-Senior & Super Senior

36 holes of stroke play qualifying (18 holes per day); the low 8 players advance to match play. The Mid-Senior field is for players aged 60-64, and the Super Senior field is divided into three age groups (65-69, 70-74 and 75-and-over). Players will only compete against those in their age group. Open to VSGA members who hold an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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