VA 4-Ball: Final-Round 62 Caps Comeback
MARTINSVILLE, VA (May 9, 2009)--Central Virginians Glenn Mullian (Richmond) and Tom Vlahakis (Ashland) equaled a championship-best scoring mark with a final round 10-under-par 62 and posted a two-shot comeback victory as the 44th Virginia State Golf Association Four-Ball Championship concluded today at Chatmoss Country Club (6,871 yards, par 36-36—72).
Mullian-Vlahakis (pictured left) completed action at 17-under 127 and finished two shots clear of Chatmoss member Keith Decker (Martinsville) and partner Ryan Stinnett (Amherst), who closed with 5-under 67 (129, -15). Staunton’s Nicholas Biesecker and Brandon LaCroix (Roanoke) fired a final round 4-under 68 and finished three shots back at 14-under 130.
In claiming their first VSGA title, Mullian-Vlahakis erased a three-shot overnight deficit as Decker-Stinnett and Biesecker-LaCroix opened with 10-under 62 on Friday.
Employing a new strategy in which the team member closer to the hole would play first on the putting surface, Mullian-Vlahakis executed the plan to championship-winning perfection, sinking putts from seemingly everywhere during the final round.
“That lineup worked. It seemed to free us up,” Mullian said of the winning strategy. They reached the championship by qualifying in extra holes in zone qualifying. “When we did it once or twice, if the first guy missed, the second guy did the job and bailed us out. Putting was the key. We just kept making putts.”
Playing a grouping ahead of the overnight leaders, Mullian-Vlahakis each contributed five birdies apiece and surged into contention with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the outward half. The span included converting four consecutive birdies from Nos. 3-6, with makes inside 6 feet at Nos. 3 (Vlahakis), 5 (Vlahakis) and 6 (Mullian), with Mullian also sandwiching in a uphill 30-footer at the par-5 fourth hole. Mullian added another birdie from close range at the par-5 ninth hole. They turned in 5-under 31 and the tandem got to 12 under for the championship.
Decker-Stinnett played the outward nine in three under and were in the lead 13 under at the time, while Biesecker-LaCroix were also at 12 under.
But Mullian-Vlahakis kept the pressure on the entire day, making four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 11-15. Mullian (pictured right) knocked in a 20-footer at the par-4 14th, while Vlahakis drained an 10-footer at the par-3 15th to get them to 16 under and a one-shot lead that they would never relinquish.
“The hole got big. We knew if we hit a good putt, it was going to go in,” Mullian said. As crucial as the birdies were, Mullian holed a 16-footer for par at the par-5 16th hole to keep the tandem atop the leaderboard.
Mullian-Vlahakis complemented each other well throughout the round and never went more than two consecutive holes without making a birdie during the final round. They also met their team-stated goal of making 10 birdies on the last day.
“Those guys are so good behind us, we figured that we probably couldn’t make enough birdies – just put the pedal to the metal and hope it’s good enough,” Mullian said. “We just played one shot at a time. It was a team effort. We thought like one brain out there. We weren’t getting ahead of ourselves. We weren’t worried about whether we were going to win or not or where we stood. It was fun.”
On a hot, sticky day weather-wise, while Mullian-Vlahakis were busy scorching the back nine, Decker-Stinnett and Biesecker-LaCroix weren’t able to string together enough birdies in the late going.
Biesecker-LaCroix both hit the edge of the hole with their birdie putts from inside 10 feet at the par-5 16th and Decker-Stinnett failed to get up and down from just short of the green at the same hole. Late bogeys at the demanding par-3 17th hole dropped each of the tandems two shots behind Mullian-Vlahakis.
Playing his home course and with a small cadre of followers watching, Decker (pictured right) admittedly wanted to add another victory to his record five VSGA Four-Ball titles.
“We didn’t get anything going,” Decker said. You have to give those guys credit. Sixty-two today was harder than 62 [Friday].” I wanted this one probably more than some of the others, but it wasn’t meant to be today. The putter was the difference.”
Mullian-Vlahakis sealed the victory at the par-4 18th as Vlahakis contributed their last birdie of the day from 5 feet.
Since round-by-round records started being kept for the championship in 1985, the three rounds of 62 at this year’s event matches the event’s single-round record set in 1987 (Bob Bradley-Matt Ball of Fredericksburg) and 1994 (Charles E. Green III of Tazewell-Mike Krulich of Bluefield).
Results following the final round of the 44th VSGA Four-Ball Championship at Chatmoss Country Club (6,871 yards, par 36-36—72) on Saturday, May 9:
Glenn Mullian (Richmond)-Tom Vlahakis (Ashland), 65-62—127
Keith Decker (Martinsville)-Ryan Stinnett (Amherst), 62-67—129
Nicholas Biesecker (Staunton)-Brandon LaCroix (Roanoke), 62-68—130
Buck Brittain (Tazewell)-Chris Dye (Tazewell), 68-65—133
Adam Horton (Chesapeake)-Jeff Long (Centreville), 65-68—133
Allen Barber (Yorktown)-Charles E. Green III (Tazewell), 68-66—134
Chris Clark (Collinsville)-Dylan Jensen (Ridgeway), 67-67—134
Gilbert Bell (Arlington)-Kenneth Cocolin (Lorton), 66-68—134
Mike Kirby (Falls Church)-Mark Sinder (Arlington), 67-69—136
James Martin (Virginia Beach)-Jason Copeland (Virginia Beach), 66-70—136
Jerry Burton (Charlottesville)-Judson Foster (Gordonsville), 66-70—136
Robert Bradshaw (Suffolk)-Dr. Roger W. Newsom (Virginia Beach), 69-68—137
Scott Bemberis (Richmond)-Paras Pandya (Midlothian), 69-69—138
Jack Adkins (Martinsville)-Jeff Adkins (Martinsville), 69-69—138
Brock Kelley (Glen Allen)-Tim Kelley (Ashland), 68-70—138
Knox Milligan (Danville)-Austin Harper (Danville), 67-71—138
Kyle Schaffner (Newport News)-Matt Wagner (Newport News), 66-72—138
Bill Sibbick (Martinsville)-Barry Pilson (Martinsville), 71-68—139
Scott Campbell (Mechanicsville)-Larry Loving Jr. (Richmond), 68-71—139
Matt Paciocco (Richmond)-Jay Zapko (Richmond), 68-71—139
Lee Fisher (Lynchburg)-Tommy Cayton (Bedford), 71-69—140
Jason Robertson (Virginia Beach)-Scott Wise (Roanoke), 70-70—140
Robert Edwards (Richmond)-Kirk Cowles (Chesterfield), 70-70—140
Parker Wingfield (Newport News)-Carter Ailsworth (Newport News), 68-72—140
Robert Boykin (Richmond)-Michael Kelly (Alexandria), 72-69—141
Dan Hosek (Alexandria)-Jim Nirich (Catlett), 70-71—141
David Brogan (Lexington)-J.W. Entsminger (Lexington), 70-71—141
John Maggiore (Roanoke)-John Newton (Roanoke), 73-69—142
Gray Hamilton (Springfield)-Chris Huemmer (Springfield), 72-71—143
Alec Sorrel (Glen Allen)-Van Williams (Glen Allen), 71-72—143
Dan Derisio (Springfield)-Buddy Patch (Springfield), 71-72—143
Robby McKetta (Richmond)-Nicholas Fallon (Midlothian), 71-72—143
Barry Valentine (Ashburn)-Chris Laughlin (Ashburn), 72-72—144
Mike Krulich (Blacksburg)-Pat O’Bannon (Radford), 72-72—144
John Swanson (Salem)-Roger Young (Christiansburg), 70-74—144
Mark Crawford (Danville)-Michael Bayes (Danville), 72-73—145
Seth Norman (Virginia Beach)-Karson Hill (Portsmouth), 70-75—145
Patrick Wills (Dumfries)-Charlie Wills (Charlottesville), 68-78—146
Greg Fisher (Portsmouth)-Scott Huneycutt (Portsmouth), 75-72—147
Don Jeanes (Fairfax)-Walt Martin (Oakton), 74-73—147
Erik Ervin (Blacksburg)-Tanner Bateman (Blacksburg), 74-75—149
James Russell IV (Richmond)-Donald Jones (Glen Allen), 75-76—151
A.J. Singh (Leesburg)-Kyle Weaver (Ashburn), 74-77—151
Rob Field (Virginia Beach)-John Reddecliff (Virginia Beach), 80-81—161