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Five tied for Virginia Mid-Am lead; Greenlief makes the cut
Jimmy Delp (VSGA/Facebook photo)
Jimmy Delp (VSGA/Facebook photo)

By Chris Lang

WINCHESTER, Va. (Oct. 13, 2018) — Colder-than-expected conditions, swirling winds and a difficult golf course made for a packed leaderboard after two rounds of the 42nd Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship.

After Saturday’s second round, five players were tied for the lead at aggregate 2-over 144, which should lead to a fantastic Sunday finish at the 54-hole championship for players ages 25 and older.

For the second straight day, only one player shot in the 60s on Winchester Country Club’s short, tricky layout. Ashburn’s Harold Dill III made an eagle on his final hole, the par-5 second, to finish with a 2-under 69 after opening with a 75 in Friday’s first round.

Dill is joined atop the leaderboard by first-round leader Josh Riggleman, a Winchester member, who followed his opening-round 69 with a 75. Lynchburg’s Lee Fisher shot 73 on Saturday to join the lead group. Alexandria’s Jimmy Delp returned 74 Saturday and Tazewell’s Buck Brittain followed his opening-round 74 with a 70 on Saturday.

Riggleman, Dill and Brittain will go off in the final group at 10:50 a.m. Sunday. Delp and Fisher will join Midlothian’s Steve Serrao in the penultimate group at 10:40. Serrao shot 74-72—146 over the first two days and is alone in sixth, two strokes off the lead.

“I think anyone within three or four of the lead is going to have a good shot,” Delp said. “It’ll be fun.”

For the second straight round, the championship featured a shotgun start, with the players with the lowest scores on Friday starting off No. 1. Dill’s group began on No. 3 and ended on No. 2, which has played as Winchester’s easiest hole over the tournament’s first two days.

Dill took advantage. His round was up and down at that point, as he had five birdies and four bogeys before finishing with the eagle.

“I hit a decent drive down the middle, and then I was in between a 4-iron and hybrid,” said Dill, who was part of the winning side at the 2016 VSGA Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship. “The wind was coming in from the left, and I just flipped a hybrid in there. It was the best shot I hit all week. I hit it to about four feet, and I knew that was going to drop.

“I was struggling to hit the ball all day, but I had a couple of good swing thoughts coming in late. I’m definitely going to take that into tomorrow. I’m fired up.”

Brittain, who has won the last two Senior Open of Virginia titles, started on No. 2 and finally made his first birdie of the tournament on the par-5 sixth. Brittain finished a steady day with two birdies and a bogey to move into a share of the lead.

Fisher steadied himself after shooting 38 on the front nine with a 35 on the back to stay tied for the lead. Riggleman, who played the front nine at 3 under on Friday, struggled with those same nine holes Saturday, making the turn at 4-over 40. He played the back nine at 1 under to stay in the hunt.

“The wind was different today,” Riggleman said. “The forecast called for the same wind as yesterday, but it was a little bit different. It was a lot colder, and it was blowing a little bit harder. The front nine was showing its teeth today. … I made a lot of putts yesterday, a lot of good par-saving putts. Today, I missed three 8-footers for par on the front nine, where yesterday, I made some of those.”

Defending champion Justin Young of Salem shot 75 on Saturday but is still within three strokes of the lead after posting a two-day 147. He’s tied with Hampton’s Kyle Martin for seventh. Suffolk’s Patrick Hawkins, Charlottesville’s Dustin Groves and Vienna’s Brenton Flynn are tied for ninth at 149.

Chris Mancini made the shot of the day Saturday, using a 9-iron to make an ace on the par-3 eighth, the lone hole-in-one of the tournament.

Forty-five players made the cut for Sunday’s final round, including Ashburn’s Lauren Greenlief, who followed an opening-round 79 with a 76 on Saturday. Greenlief is the first female to play in the VSGA Mid-Amateur, and she’ll enter the final round in 29th.

“It’s been a great experience,” Greenlief said. “I feel like people have been very welcoming. I think having been around the men’s circuit more with Jeff (boyfriend Jeff Long) the last couple of years, I think I started to meet some of the folks. They’re familiar faces, and they’ve gotten to know me too. I felt very welcomed, and it’s been a great week so far.”

ABOUT THE VSGA Mid-Amateur

54-hole stroke play competition (18 holes per day), with the field being cut to the low 45 and ties for the final round. Open to VSGA members who will be at least 25 years of age holding an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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