VA Senior Open: Amateur Partridge takes it

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 23, 2011) –– Due to heavy rainfall in central Virginia on Friday, the 6th Senior Open of Virginia at The Country Club of Virginia’s Westhampton Course was reduced from a 36-hole championship to an 18-hole competition.

Round two started on time, but due to unplayable conditions, the round was cancelled and the championship reverted to an 18-hole competition. The second round was suspended at 1:45 p.m. EDT due to torrential downpours and unplayable conditions. Hoping to resume play later in the day, the Senior Open of Virginia Committee decided to cancel the round after more than an hour of suspension and a forecast for continued inclement weather.

Amateur David Partridge, 56, of Manakin, who shot 5-under-par 65 on Thursday, claimed the title. With the victory, Partridge became the first player to win the Senior Open of Virginia and the VSGA Senior Amateur Championship in the same rotation. Partridge captured last month’s Senior Amateur at The Homestead’s Cascades Course.

Fellow amateur and 2010 champion Keith Decker, 51, of Martinsville finished a stroke back after carding 4-under 66. Jeff Bostic (3-under 67), an amateur from Richmond, and event rookie Jim Nirich, an amateur from Catlett (2-under 68), were the next-nearest finishers. Amateurs Mike Thompson of Richmond and Richard Blackburn of Alexandria as well as PGA professional Glenn Brown of Vienna also completed play in red numbers at 1-under 69. Brown, the head PGA professional at Westwood Country Club, took home low professional honors.

Partridge registered six birdies against a bogey on the tight 6,034 yard layout on Thursday, which ultimately proved good enough to decide the outcome of the rain-shortened event. Partridge’s 65 marked the low single-round total in the championship’s brief history, bettering professional Dean Sumner’s final day four under par round in 2009.

“Everybody wants to play. You never want to feel like you ‘backed in’ by only winning after 18 holes,” Partridge said. “Eighteen holes is a reasonable competition, but for a state Open, you’d like to have it at least be 36 holes. I feel sorry for Keith – and the others – who had a chance to win, but didn’t have the opportunity to play today.”

“I do feel good about winning. I’ve always wanted to win a State Open – I would’ve liked to have won the regular one [the SunTrust State Open of Virginia] – but this is certainly nice. I’m not going to give it back, that’s for sure.”

A mainstay in VSGA competitions, Partridge collected his tenth VSGA title – he owns victories in nearly every VSGA major – the VSGA Mid-Amateur and the VSGA Four-Ball (three wins in each event); the VSGA Amateur (two triumphs) as well as accounting for victories at this year’s VSGA Senior Amateur and the Senior Open.

“When you’re at my age, you better get to them as fast as you can,” Partridge said with a laugh.

The whims of Mother Nature don’t detract from what has been a memorable season for Partridge. With his 5-and-4 victory over Tim Vigotsky of Centreville in the Senior Amateur final in late August, he became the first player to own each of the VSGA’s most significant titles: the Amateur, the Mid-Amateur and the Senior Amateur. And now he’s the only player to have his name on the trophies for the Senior Amateur and Senior Open.

“It’s nice to have those two distinctions,” said Partridge, who took home the Harry W. Easterly Jr. trophy with his Senior Open triumph.

“Golf has been an awful lot of fun for me. I thoroughly enjoy it. I love working on my game and love playing. And I love the competition and particularly love being able to play with all these guys. I have a lot of friendships that have come from this.”

Decker fell a stroke shy of his quest for a 19th VSGA “major” title, but noted Partridge’s strong play.

“What’s fair is fair. David played great yesterday and he deserved it,” said Decker, who had five birdies and a bogey on Thursday.

In taking home low professional accolades, Brown was stoked by scoring a hole-in-one on the 166-yard par-3 17th hole on Thursday. He used a 7-iron.

ABOUT THE Senior Open of Virginia

Thirty-six holes of stroke play; the championship is open to male amateurs and pros, ages 50 and over.

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