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Partridge makes history with Virginia Mid-Senior title
David Partridge (VSGA photo)
David Partridge (VSGA photo)

By Chris Lang

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (Nov. 1, 2018) — The 2018 Virginia State Golf Association championship season came to a close Thursday afternoon at Loudoun Golf & Country Club with the conclusion of the 3rd VSGA Mid-Senior Amateur and 24th VSGA Super Senior Amateur championships.

More on each of Thursday’s championship matches follows:

Mid-Senior Amateur

David Partridge had played Loudoun’s layout better than anyone during the week. He was the only player under par during stroke-play qualifying and won a pair of matches on Wednesday. But he admitted his nerves got to him a bit in Thursday’s title match against Harry Thomas.

Partridge was vying to become the first player in VSGA history to win the VSGA Amateur, VSGA Mid-Amateur, VSGA Senior Amateur and VSGA Mid-Senior Amateur. The moment weighed on his mind.

“It was something that I think I wanted so badly that it got in the way a little bit on the front,” he said.

After a shaky front nine, Partridge rallied on the back to record a 2-and-1 victory and earn his 13th VSGA championship. He clinched the match by sinking a 7-foot par putt on No. 17.

Partridge was 5 over at the turn and fortunate to only be 2 down heading to the back nine.

“I just kind of said, OK, slow down, start again, begin the process again,” he said. “I tell you what, it was a little dicey there. I had to make about a 5-footer for par on 10 to keep from going 3 down. But fortunately, I won the next four holes.”

Thomas struggled mightily off the tee on the back, and Partridge took advantage, winning four straight holes to take control of the match. He went from 2 down after 10 holes to 2 up after making birdie on 14. The players each made par on the final three holes to end the match.

Partridge, 63, has one chance to defend his Mid-Senior Amateur title before turning 65, when he’ll set his sights on adding to his age-group title tally as a super senior.

Super Senior 65-69

Ten years removed from winning a Senior Four-Ball championship with Steve Isaacs, Dayton Slater added an individual title to his mantle with a 3-and-2 win over Marc Halley in the championship match.

“This is super, really exciting,” Slater said. “There’s not much match play anymore. You get a couple of tournaments, maybe the club championship. Really, that’s much more exciting for us bogey-par guys. Much more exciting.”

Slater again got off to a fast start, winning the first two holes to take the early lead. Halley rallied to square the match by No. 6 but never took the lead. Slater won holes 14 and 15 with birdies to close out the match.

“Nobody ever got three up until the very end,” Slater said. “It was 1-up, even, 1-up, even. It could have gone either way.”

Super Senior 70-74

Mike Brown claimed his first VSGA championship with a pair of comfortable match play victories. After winning 6 and 5 in Wednesday’s semifinals, he defeated Don Jeanes, 4 and 2, in Thursday’s championship match.

Brown played college golf at North Carolina and played professionally before settling back into amateur golf. Currently the varsity golf coach at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Brown was playing in the VSGA Senior Amateur for the second time. He didn’t make it to match play the first time.

“But I was coming off being ill,” the first time he played, he said. “So this is the first time I really had my game together. I’m a 1 handicap. I should make match play.”

He did more than that. He was the stroke-play medalist and top seed in match play. In the title match, he went 3 up by the seventh hole and cruised from there.

“I played college golf and played on a pro tour for a while, but as an amateur, I haven’t played much,” Brown said. “So winning a state championship in the 70-and-up category is pretty great.”

Super Senior 75 and over

For Jack Vardaman, it was two starts and two wins in VSGA championships in 2018.

Vardaman won the 33rd VSGA Super Senior Stroke Play Championship in June at The Homestead. He followed that up by finishing as stroke-play medalist at Loudoun and winning two matches for his second VSGA Super Senior Amateur title. He topped Joe Cochran, 5 and 3, in the championship match.

“There are a lot of good players out there, and you like to win,” Vardaman said. “I love to play golf. I love to play competitive golf. You don’t win a lot in this game, so when you get a chance to win, it’s special. It means a lot to me to win a golf tournament, because I’ve lost more than my share.”

Vardaman took control of the championship match from the start. He was 4 up through five holes and his lead never slipped below 3 up the rest of the way. He clinched the title by winning No. 15 with a 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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