HOT SPRINGS, VA (September 2, 2005) -- Fueled by a strong start to the match, Jamie Gough, 61, of Fairfax notched a 5 and 4 victory over Tom Grady (Marshall), 57, to claim the 58th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship, which concluded today at The Homestead’s Cascades Course (6,256 yards, par 35-35—70).
One of the pre-eminent senior players in the commonwealth, Gough, a past VSGA Senior Stroke Play, State Senior Four-Ball and Middle Atlantic Senior Amateur champion, broke through for his first VSGA Senior Amateur title.
“For me, this is the best win that I could imagine,” said Gough, the event’s runner-up in 2003. “Winning a state event is as big a deal for me as anything in golf. It’s so special because of the quality of players in the field and the state.”
After the golfers halved the first hole, Gough seized early command of the match, winning three consecutive holes from Nos. 2-4 to build a 3-up advantage through four holes, a lead he would not relinquish. During that stretch, Gough put together the solid ball striking that has been his trademark all week, even hitting the flagstick with his 9-iron approach at the short par-4 third to set up a birdie. He also made a conceded birdie at No. 2 after Grady found the greenside bunker and won with a par at the par-3 fourth. Grady knew it was going to be difficult to make up ground against his steady opponent.
“He put pressure on me early and forced my game,” said Grady, who was making his first finals appearance. “He just doesn’t make many mistakes; he’s a good competitor who puts pressure on you.”
Gough continued to build his advantage, winning the par-4 seventh with a par to go 4 up and made the turn at 3 up after Grady won the uphill par-4 ninth hole with a par. Things remained that way until the closing nine, where Gough made pars at Nos. 12 and 14 with pars to decide the match. He lofted a brilliant short pitch over a guarding bunker to set up par at No. 12 and two-putted from 25 feet at No. 14.
Gough credited Homestead director of golf Don Ryder, PGA, with giving him a tip while hitting practice balls after his two match play victories on Thursday. Ryder encouraged him to move his hands forward at address.
“I was a wits-end and trying to figure out anything I could because I was hitting everything fat,” Gough said of the late day practice session. “I thought, ‘I’m not going to play like this on Friday,’ so his tip really helped me.”
Making just his second appearance in the championship, Grady, who also made match play at last year’s USGA Senior Amateur Championship at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif., takes many positives from the week.
“This is the first time that I’ve been at this level. Now, I need to try to get it to the next,” said Grady, who only began taking part in competitive golf about five years ago after a late start in the game. “Playing against the likes of Jamie, you learn what you have to do to improve. It was a good week. I have no complaints at all.”
In the super senior division (ages 70-and-older), top-seeded Reginald Clark (Copper Hill) scored a 20-hole win against Williamsburg’s Don Lashinger to take home the super senior title for the first time. Clark drained a 7-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole, the par-5 16th, to claim victory.
HOT SPRINGS –– Result from the final round of match play in the senior division at the 58th VSGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Homestead Cascades Course (6,256 yards, par 35-35—70) on Friday, Sept. 2.
(7) Jamie Gough (Fairfax) def. (9) Tom Grady (Marshall), 5 and 4
HOT SPRINGS –– Result from the final round of match play in the super senior division at the 58th VSGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Homestead Cascades Course (6,256 yards, par 35-35—70) on Friday, Sept. 2.
(1) Reginald Clark (Copper Hill) def. (7) Don Lashinger (Williamsburg), 20 holes
Fro complete results, click on the tournament link above (amateurgolf.com premium membership requested).