Virginia Senior: Partridge beats Vigotsky to take the title

HOT SPRINGS, Va. (Aug. 26, 2011) -- Stroke play medalist David Partridge, 56, of Manakin posted a wire-to-wire 5 and 4 victory over northern Virginian Tim Vigotsky, 57, of Centreville to win Friday’s scheduled 18-hole final at the 64th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship, which concluded at The Homestead’s Cascades Course.

Partridge, who shot two under par counting concessions that are typically a part of match play, notched his first victory in the event in his second year eligible after meeting the age requirement last year. A longtime participant in VSGA championships, Partridge is believed to be the first player to have his name on three of the association’s most significant titles: the Amateur, the Mid-Amateur and now the Senior Amateur.

Owner of a 1-up lead through seven, Partridge took control of the match by winning four of five holes from Nos. 8-12, playing that stretch in one under par. Partridge collected par-wins at Nos. 8 and 9 and then knocked in a left-to-right 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th hole to swell his advantage to four. He completed the surge at the par-4 12th hole, executing a crisp bunker shot that came to rest 2 feet from the hole for an ensuing par win.

After Vigotsky claimed the 13th hole, Partridge quelled any hopes of a further rally by his opponent, playing a 7-iron to 16 feet at the par-4 14th hole. His birdie putt tracked right to the center of the hole and tumbled in to decide the match.

After shooting 5-under 65 in the second round of stroke-play qualifying, Partridge rolled through the match play bracket. In the final, he continued to rely on solid play, missing only two greens in regulation and was off the putting surface by a short distance on those occasions. For Partridge, routinely one of the top players in the commonwealth, securing a VSGA Senior Amateur triumph seemed only a matter of time.

“I played steady today and had a pretty strong ball striking round,” said Partridge, a longtime member at central Virginia’s Hermitage Country Club. “It was similar to the way I played throughout the week – nothing too spectacular, but nothing too silly, either.”

He paused for an instance as if, for a moment, to recall – and cherish – the five under par score he shot in the second round of stroke-play qualifying while playing in the same grouping with Virginia amateur legend Vinny Giles, whom he’s long considered a hero.

“The 65 was the exception,” Partridge said with a laugh, while discussing the five days of stellar play. “The week was a lot fun and it sure is nice to win this event.”

Vigotsky also had a week to remember. He ousted fellow northern Virginian Pat Tallent, the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur finalist, in the round of 16 and played 36 holes in scoring a pair of victories in Thursday’s quarterfinals and semifinals, including posting a 1-up victory over 2009 champion Mike McDonald (Williamsburg) to reach his first final.

But he ran into a buzz saw in Partridge and never appeared to fully settle into the match.

“I’m a little disappointed in myself because I didn’t elevate my game enough to compete in the final. It was a good week – all positives – but sometimes you remember the most recent one,” Vigotsky said. “I started to feel things going in the wrong direction at the end on Thursday, so when you have some doubts already, you think, ‘Oh boy.’ You have to fight yourself and a true champion in David.”

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