Virginia Mid-Amateur: Biesecker Repeats

GORDONSVILLE, VA (October 11, 2009)––It seemed appropriate that Nick Biesecker, if only for a moment, dropped the winner’s trophy after claiming the 33rd Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship on Sunday at Spring Creek Golf Club (6,798 yards, par 36-36—72). After all, the 33-year-old amateur from Staunton watched putt after putt fall over the last seven holes in shooting a ’09 championship-best 6-under-par 66 in the final round. He wiped out a four-shot closing nine deficit and repeated as the event’s champion today at the Charlottesville-area VSGA member club.

Biesecker birdied six of the final seven holes and shot 6-under 30 on the back nine to finish at 4-under 212. Haymarket’s Scott Shingler, 37, had a final round 3-under 69 to finish one stroke back (213, -4). His 10-foot birdie bid to force extra holes at No. 18 just came within a fraction of falling before going past the low side of the cup. Second round leader Glenn Mullian of Richmond had a last day 73 and finished three of the pace (215, -1).

With his final round surge, Biesecker became the event’s first repeat winner since Martinsville’s Keith Decker, a record seven-time event champion, won back-to-back titles in 2004-05.

“To be able to come back and put up a good score and win a second title is just awesome,” said Biesecker, took home the M.W. “’Dyke” Peebles Trophy, honoring the past VSGA president (1977-78).

“Awesome” might be one of most apt adjectives to assign to his final-day second nine performance. Realize that competitors struggled all week to get a handle on the polished layout’s intricacies. Wind and rain played havoc with scoring the first two days and the field’s average score was above 81 on Friday and Saturday. In relatively benign and sun-splashed conditions on Sunday, the stroke average for the remaining 60-golfer field dropped to 77.65.

Playing a grouping ahead of Biesecker, Mullian and Ashland’s Tim Kelley, Biesecker blended power and a deft putting touch during his rousing rally. Two over par for the championship and four strokes off Shingler’s lead on the back nine, Biesecker started his surge by draining consecutive 15-footers for birdie at Nos. 12-13 to get back to even par for the event.

He drilled a 6-iron to 6 feet at the demanding par-4 14th hole to set up another birdie and get into red numbers. The long-hitting Biesecker then nearly drove the green at No. 15 before his momentum on the greens continued, dropping in another 15-footer.

At No. 16, his 30-footer for birdie had eyes for the cup nearly the entire way before falling in for a fifth-straight birdie. At the par-5 18th, he wisely chose position over power, electing to play a hybrid club off the tee to position the ball in the fairway and he then hit a 7-iron second to set up a comfortable pitching wedge third that he struck to 12 feet for another birdie to own the lead alone in the clubhouse.

For his part, Shingler, who started the day at even par played beautifully for a majority of the day. Trailing Mullian by two strokes to start the final round, with birdies at the par-3 eighth (4 feet) and par-5 ninth (two putts for birdie) he shot two under on the front nine to take the lead by himself at two under par. He added another birdie at the par-3 13th hole and despite a bogey at No. 14, coolly answered right back one hole later by holing a 22-foot birdie chance from below the cup and just off the putting surface.

Mullian, who began the day at two under before dropping back to even par, saw the lid come off the cup on the second nine, making 12-footers at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to two under, but didn’t register a birdie the rest of the way.

Even after finding out that Biesecker finished at four under prior to facing a right to left breaking 5-foot par-saver at No. 17, Shingler calmly converted for par to stay within one of his fellow-competitor’s lead.

At the par-5 finishing hole, he took an aggressive line off the tee, then blistered a drive and tattooed his 19-degree hybrid second shot from 242 yards that easily cleared the guarding water hazard and bunker. The shot had enough steam to roll just into the second cut, 25 feet past the hole location. His chip shot from a juicy lie rolled past the cup and his birdie putt came within an eyelash of going in before somehow staying out.

“The grain was growing into my strike, so I kind of gave it a little more and the shot didn’t come out as soft as I thought,” Shingler said of the delicate chip.

With his five-birdie, two-bogey final round, Shingler delivered one of five rounds in the 60s in the three-day, 54-hole competition, but like every other competitor, he got ambushed by Biesecker’s sizzling round.

“I didn’t have anything to protect. You know what you have to do and I tried to make as many birdies as possible,” said Shingler, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the fall VSGA player rankings. “Nick just played incredibly and I came up a shot or two short. I’m happy with the way I played, but you can’t take anything away from Nick.”

Biesecker is a player manager for professional golfers including Heath Slocum and Stuart Appleby and in final round action, he seemingly took a page from a Tour player’s how-to-win handbook.

“It’s one of those things where you try to focus on what you’re trying to do right then and there and not worry about three or four holes down the road,” said Biesecker, who now shares another commonality with Tar Heel Tour player Roberto Castro, whom his firm represents. Castro won the tour’s stop at Spring Creek in late-June. “That’s one of the hardest things for any of us to do. When you can focus, it makes it easier.”

Biesecker came within a stroke of setting Spring Creek’s competitive course record of 65, established by Tar Heel Tour player Will McGirt. Credit Biesecker with knowing how to finish in his only two starts at the VSGA Mid-Amateur; in winning last year’s title at Stoney Creek at Wintergreen, he drained a 42-foot par putt to record a one-stroke win over Decker. With today’s triumph, Biesecker notched the second VSGA victory of his career.

“It’s an honor to be a multiple VSGA champion,” he said.

For Biesecker, it’s been a memorable year on and off the course. He and wife, Amanda, welcomed daughter, Kitty, on July 10.

GORDONSVILLE –– Results following the final round of the 33rd Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at Spring Creek Golf Club (6,798 yards, par 36-36—72) on Sunday, Oct. 11.

Nick Biesecker (Staunton), 74-72-66—212
Scott Shingler (Haymarket), 72-72-69—213
Glenn Mullian (Richmond), 72-70-73—215
Keith Decker (Martinsville), 80-67-69—216
Tim Kelley (Ashland), 69-74-73—216
Paul Kane (Charlottesville), 75-72-72—219
Paras Pandya (Midlothian), 75-75-71—221
Buck Brittain (Tazewell), 72-75-74—221
Brandon Lacroix (Roanoke), 76-71-75—222
Jeffrey Klatt (Manassas), 70-77-75—222
Jeffrey Topp (Fairfax), 77-77-71—225
Scott Bemberis (Richmond), 80-73-72—225
Robert Bradshaw (Suffolk), 76-74-75—225
Phil Mahone (Charlottesville), 80-74-74—228
Ray Dingledine (Midlothian), 75-76-77—228
Jason Robertson (Virginia Beach), 80-75-74—229
Jack Ferraro (Manassas), 77-76-76—229
Alex Sleeker (Richmond), 74-77-78—229
Doug Hall (Haymarket), 77-75-78—230
Jason Copeland (Virginia Beach), 75-76-79—230
Richard Thomas (Oakton), 76-80-75—231
Judson Foster (Gordonsville), 77-77-77—231
Jack Allara (Salem), 89-70-72—231
Lance Rice (Purcellville), 81-75-77—233
Steve Isaacs (Richmond), 75-81-77—233
Tony Good (Glen Allen), 79-77-77—233
Allen Barber (Yorktown), 77-73-83—233
David Schmidt (Wytheville), 84-76-73—233
Jim Nirich (Catlett), 75-74-84—233
Kenton Scearce (Glen Allen), 76-79-79—234
Mike McLister (Leesburg), 79-78-77—234
Chad Westby (Leesburg), 78-79-77—234
David Johnson (Springfield), 83-76-75—234
Dr. Bob Rotella (Keswick), 80-76-79—235
Russ Bradshaw (Virginia Beach), 76-78-81—235
Robert Jones (Henrico), 72-81-82—235
Robbie Phillips (Orange), 78-78-80—236
Tom Grady (Marshall), 77-78-81—236
Adam Houck (Richmond), 75-81-80—236
Chris Wallace (Lynchburg), 77-80-79—236
Kevin Culligan (Burke), 75-78-83—236
Conlin Giles (Portsmouth), 78-82-76—236
Steve Serrao (Midlothian), 87-76-73—236
James Gallagher (Yorktown), 81-75-81—237
Patrick Commins (Fairfax Station), 74-82-81—237
Steve Castro (Chantilly), 80-79-78—237
Michael Hays (Virginia Beach), 79-81-77—237
Cary Broocks (Richmond), 77-79-83—239
Michael Keating (Fairfax), 81-78-80—239
George Trail (Manassas), 81-79-79—239
Brian Lehnhard (Fredericksburg), 82-80-78—240
Ken Zecchini (Virginia Beach), 82-80-78—240
Donnie Hankins (Tazewell), 87-77-76—240
Neil Davis (Charlottesville), 78-80-83—241
Mike Krulich (Blacksburg), 78-82-81—241
Patrick Nealon (Arlington), 79-84-80—243
Larry Dye (Tazewell), 82-78-85—245
Kurt Williams (Richmond), 79-79-91—249
Lars Lassen (Newport News), 78-85-87—250
Lee Dezzutti (Midlothian), 85-78-93—256
Greg Graham (Keswick), 78-79-WD
Sam Stein (Gordonsville), 84-80-WD
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