Medalist Partridge continues strong play at VSGA Senior Amateur

HOT SPRINGS, Va., Aug. 24, 2011 –– Fo ur of the top five low qualifiers for match play are a part of the remaining quarterfinal field as match play got underway today at the 64th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship at The Homestead’s Cascades Course.

Stroke-play medalist David Partridge of Manakin continued his strong play, scoring two late-match birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 to get past Lexington’s J.W. Entsminger in the morning session, 2 and 1. Partridge, a quarterfinalist in his debut appearance at last year’s championship, then posted a wire-to-wire 3 and 2 victory over northern Virginian Richard Thomas in the round of 16.

In the round of eight, he’ll face fellow 56-year-old Jack Allara of Salem, who was one of three locals to reach the quarterfinals. Allara didn’t trail in either of his encounters to open match play, ousting record four-time VSGA Senior Stroke Play champion J.P. Leigh (Suffolk) in the afternoon session, 3 and 1.

Also in the top half of the bracket, event rookie Van Renick, 55, of Roanoke continues to make the most of his first start in the championship. The fourth low qualifier for match play, Renick, who reached the age eligibility requirement of 55 on Aug. 10, made a downhill right-to-left breaking 40- foot birdie at the par-3 18th hole to record a 1-up victory over 2010 event finalist John Long (Centreville). Renick estimates the putt had 4½ feet of curve to it before tumbling into the hole.

“It was one of those you make once in a blue moon, but it couldn’t have come at a better time,” laughed Renick, the sales and marketing director at Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke.

Renick moved back to Virginia two years ago after spending about 20 years in Atlanta, where he worked in the golf marketing business and competed in state championships. He had never played The Homestead before seeing it for the first time during a practice round this past weekend. Admittedly, he’s quickly developing an affinity for the Cascades layout, which places a premium on shot placement and distance control.

“It’s an incredible place to be making your rookie debut,” Renick said with a laugh. “This is a lot of fun. It has the juices going again.”

In the round of eight, Renick will face another northern Virginian in 59-year- old John Hoffman of Fairfax. The fifth low qualifier for match play, Hoffman won three of the final four holes of his round of 16 match to close out Virginia amateur legend Vinny Giles of Richmond, twice a winner of the VSGA Senior Amateur Championship.

Four former VSGA Senior Amateur victors made it to the match play portion of the championship, but three were eliminated in Wednesday’s opening round encounters. The only past champion to advance was 60-year-old Mike McDonald of Williamsburg, who ousted 2007 winner Bob Morris in the morning before besting Jeff Flax (Virginia Beach) after the lunch break. McDonald took control of an all-square match in the round of 16 by winning five of the final seven holes, playing that stretch in a solid even par, counting the concessions that are typically a part of match play.

In the bottom half of the bracket, McDonald will take on John Price, 60, of Fairfax. Price, the second low qualifier for match play, was two holes down through 11 holes to Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Ridge) in the afternoon; the southwest Virginian reached the round of 16 by besting 2004 champion John Cuomo (Richmond), 1 up to open match play. Price rallied from the modest one hole down deficit to collect three straight wins from Nos. 12-14 to gain a 1-up lead. Nunnenkamp returned the encounter to all square at No. 18 before Price won the match with a par at the first extra hole, the par-4 first.      

On the same side of the bracket, Hot Springs resident and Homestead member  Jack Vardaman, 71, also used extra holes to advance. Three holes down with three to play against opponent Skip Zobel (Virginia Beach), Vardaman proved he knows every swale and valley of the Cascades, making consecutive birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to get within one. He claimed the par-3 18th with a par to continue the match and completed the late rally by scoring a deciding bogey-win at the 19th hole, the par-4 first. 

In the quarterfinals, Vardaman will meet Centreville’s Tim Vigotsky, 57, who advanced by besting friend Pat Tallent of Vienna, the third low qualifier for match play, in the afternoon, 3 and 1. Vigotsky and Tallent have teamed together in four-ball events on countless occasions. But Vigotsky was in command of the match much of the way, building a three holes up advantage through nine holes en route to victory. Vigotsky collected four birdies altogether against Tallent, the finalist at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur Championship.

The championship’s quarterfinals and semifinals are set for Thursday, Aug. 25, prior to the scheduled 18-hole championship final on Friday, Aug. 26.

HOT SPRINGS  ––Results from round of 32 and round of 16 matches at the 64th VSGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Homestead’s Cascades Course (6,256 yards, par 35-35—70) on Wednesday, Aug. 24 (stroke play qualifying score indicated).

Round of 32 match play results

(1) David Partridge (Manakin), 137 def. (32) J.W. Entsminger (Lexington), 152, 2 and 1
(17) Richard Thomas (Oakton), 148 def. (16) Chips Wooddy (Roanoke), 147, 7 and 5
(8) J.P. Leigh (Suffolk), 144, def. (25) Bill Bascom Jr (Keswick), 151, 5 and 4
(9) Jack Allara II (Salem), 144 def. (24) Jay Klingel (Charlottesville), 151, 5 and 4
(4) Van Renick (Roanoke), 139 def. (29) George Kapetanakis (McLean), 152 4 and 2
(13) John Long (Centreville), 146, def. (20) Richard Blackburn (Alexandria), 149, 4 and 3
(5) John Hoffman (Fairfax), 139 def. (28) Tommy Cayton (Bedford), 152, 4 and 3
(21) Vinny Giles (Richmond), 149 def. (12) Roger Pitkin (Springfield), 145, 2 and 1

(2) John Price (Fairfax), 138 def. (31) John Casstevens (Glen Allen), 152, 3 and 2
(18) Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Ridge), 149 def. (15) John Cuomo (Richmond), 147, 1 up
(26) Mike McDonald (Williamsburg), 151 def. (7) Bob Morris (Vienna), 143, 19 holes
(10) Jeff Flax (Virginia Beach), 145 def. (23) Bert Allen (Forest), 150, 4 and 3
(3) Pat Tallent (Vienna), 139 def. (30) Terry Banks (Reston), 152, 4 and 3
(14) Tim Vigotsky (Centreville), 146 def. (19) Jeff Lynch (Roanoke), 149, 4 and 3
(6) Jack Vardaman (Hot Springs), 142 def. (27) Michael Ancel (Newport News), 152, 4 and 2
(11) Skip Zobel (Virginia Beach), 145 def. (22) George Riefler (Suffolk), 150, 5 and 4

Round of 16 match play results

(1) David Partridge (Manakin), 137 def. (17) Richard Thomas (Oakton), 148, 3 and 2
(9) Jack Allara II (Salem), 144 def. (8) J.P. Leigh (Suffolk), 144, 3 and 1
(4) Van Renick (Roanoke), 139 def. (13) John Long (Centreville), 146, 1 up
(5) John Hoffman (Fairfax), 139 def. (21) Vinny Giles (Richmond), 149, 3 and 1

(2) John Price (Fairfax), 138 def. (18) Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Ridge), 149, 19 holes
(26) Mike McDonald (Williamsburg), 151 def. (10) Jeff Flax (Virginia Beach), 145, 5 and 4
(14) Tim Vigotsky (Centreville), 146 def. (3) Pat Tallent (Vienna), 139, 3 and 1
(6) Jack Vardaman (Hot Springs), 142 def. (11) Skip Zobel (Virginia Beach), 145, 19 holes

HOT SPRINGS  ––Pairings and starting times for the quarterfinal of match play at the 64th VSGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Homestead’s Cascades Course (6,256 yards, par 35-35—70) on Thursday, Aug. 25 (stroke play qualifying score indicated).

Thursday (Aug. 25), Hole No. 1

8 a.m.: (1) David Partridge (Manakin), 137 vs. (9) Jack Allara II (Salem), 144
8:10 a.m.: (4) Van Renick (Roanoke), 139 vs. (5) John Hoffman (Fairfax), 139
8:20 a.m.: (2) John Price (Fairfax), 138 vs. (26) Mike McDonald (Williamsburg), 151
8:30 a.m.: (14) Tim Vigotsky (Centreville), 146 vs. (6) Jack Vardaman (Hot Springs), 142

ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Amateur

36 holes of stroke play qualifying (18 holes per day); the low 32 players advance to match play. Open to VSGA members who are at least 50 years of age holding an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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