PETERSBURG, VA (September 25, 2005) -- Martinsville’s Keith Decker, 45, shot a final round 4-under-par 68, erased a final day three-shot deficit and posted a one-shot victory as the 29th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship concluded today at The Country Club of Petersburg (6,862 yards, par 36-36—72).
Decker ended the championship with a 9-under-par 207 (66-73-68) aggregate to close action a stroke ahead of Army Col. Albert Johnson Jr. of Fort Monroe (72) and 1997 and 1999 winner Allen Barber of Yorktown (70), who each finished at 8-under 208. Manakin-Sabot’s David Partridge, the 1988 and 1993 champion, had a final round-best 67 and finished three back (210, -6).
Decker collected his third straight VSGA Mid-Am title and record seventh win overall in the event. He is the first golfer in the history of the championship to win three years in a row. It was an admittedly emotional week for Decker, who dedicated the week and the win to his late father, John, who passed away less than two weeks ago following an illness.
He’d be calling the golf shop by now checking on me,” said Decker with tears welling in his eyes following the round. “This one just means more.”
Starting the day three back, Decker, playing a group ahead of Johnson, drew even after nine holes after shooting 3-under 33 on the outward nine. Decker took his first lead of the day following a birdie at the par-5 11th hole. Johnson responded and owned a share of the top spot with a birdie at the par-4 13th hole, but he hooked his tee shot out of bounds at the par-4 14th to fall two back.
Decker ballooned his advantage to three shots moments later with a birdie at the par-5 15th to get to 10 under for the championship. Johnson and Barber, the next nearest pursuers, were seven under heading to 16.
“I found out that Keith was 10 [under] on 16, and by then it was, ‘See how many birdies you can make,’” Johnson said.
Barber nearly caught the leader by making three birdies coming in (Nos. 15, 17 and 18), but also had a costly bogey at the par-3 16th hole. Even with a Decker bogey at the last, Barber and Johnson, who also finished with a birdie at No. 18, couldn’t quite catch the top-ranked golfer in the commonwealth.
“I played well, but just needed to play a little better,” Barber said. “I just let [Decker] get too far ahead of me.”
Johnson, a 26-year veteran who is stationed at the Fort Monroe headquarters for Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), continues to build on an impressive season, having already claimed the Valentine Invitational and Portsmouth City Amateur this year.
“I felt good about my game the whole week and had a lot of confidence,” Johnson said. “Second place is never good, but Keith is a very tough competitor. I competed, but just got beat today.”
With his triumph, Decker, a furniture sales representative, has now racked up 15 major VSGA titles – three State Opens, two State Ams, three State Four-Ball events and seven Mid-Ams.
“I hit it as well today as I have in a long time,” said Decker, who won the M.W. “Dyke” Peebles Trophy, honoring the past VSGA president (1977-78). “Winning never gets old. Everyone wants a VSGA title.”
PETERSBURG –– Results following the final round of the 29th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at The Country Club of Petersburg (6,862 yards, par 36-36—72) from Sunday, Sept. 25.
Keith Decker (Martinsville), 66-73-68—207
Albert Johnson Jr. (Fort Monroe), 68-68-72—208
Allen Barber (Yorktown), 67-71-70—208
David Partridge (Manakin-Sabot), 70-73-67—210
Roger W. Newsom (Virginia Beach), 72-67-74—213
Paul C. Erdman (West Point), 73-73-69—215
Scott I. Bemberis (Richmond), 72-74-70—216
Jimmy Angel (Midlothian), 72-71-73—216
Richard C. Thomas (Oakton), 67-76-73—216
Tim Kelley (Ashland), 75-73-70—218
Steve Serrao (Midlothian), 77-70-71—218
Bryant Reese (South Hill), 74-73-71—218
Tim Vigotsky Jr. (Centreville), 72-74-72—218
Greg Bales (Glen Allen), 70-74-74—218
Craig Groenendaal (Centreville), 73-76-70—219
Skip Zobel (Virginia Beach), 73-75-71—219
Hank Klein (Glen Allen), 69-78-72—219
Ralph Knapp (Virginia Beach), 71-74-74—219
Donnie Hankins (Tazewell), 74-76-70—220
Chuck Brewton (Virginia Beach), 78-71-71—220
Frank Moore (Chesapeake), 75-73-72—220
Jon Zampedro (Centreville), 79-72-70—221
Buck Brittain (Tazewell), 76-71-74—221
Dr. Bob Rotella (Keswick), 70-75-76—221
Nathan Lash (Richmond), 72-77-73—222
Starell M. Cox Jr. (Chesterfield), 73-75-74—222
Bill Williard (Virginia Beach), 71-75-76—222
Miller Baber (Roanoke), 77-73-73—223
Dave Schmidt (Wytheville), 73-76-74—223
Jay Serrao (Virginia Beach), 75-71-77—223
Stephen T. Whitfield (Norfolk), 75-77-72—224
Donald Jeanes (Fairfax), 74-78-72—224
Jack M. Allara II (Salem), 75-75-74—224
David Ziemba (Annandale), 74-73-77—224
Robbie Phillips (Locust Grove), 76-69-79—224
Allen McCarthy (Chesapeake), 74-77-74—225
Dan Hosek (Alexandria), 72-77-76—225
David Brogan (Lexington), 72-76-77—225
J.W. Enstsminger (Lexington), 77-78-71—226
Tom Grady (Marshall), 77-75-74—226
David Johnson (Springfield), 75-77-74—226
Garrett McGehee (Portsmouth), 76-74-76—226
Lance Rice (Purcellville), 81-72-74—227
Ray Montgomery (Clifton), 72-79-76—227
Chris Tuttle (Virginia Beach), 75-73-79—227
Rick Bauer (Petersburg), 74-77-77—228
Paul Malgee (Colonial Heights), 80-70-78—228
Sam Taylor (Roanoke), 77-77-75—229
J.D. Fenessy (Petersburg), 75-77-77—229
Cam Young (Richmond), 75-78-76—229
Tony Good (Glen Allen), 76-76-77—229
Scott Garrison (Charlottesville), 77-74-78—229
Michael McLister (Leesburg), 77-78-75—230
Bernie Murrell (Chesterfield), 77-78-75—230
Michael E. Hays (Virginia Beach), 78-76-76—230
Bill Moore (Petersburg), 77-77-76—230
Steve Isaacs (Richmond), 77-73-80—230
Mark Boedicker (Great Falls), 74-79-80—233
Jaymie Martino (Gainesville), 78-77-79—234
Bert Wilson (Mechanicsville), 76-77-81—234
Tommy Kidd (Petersburg), 77-78-80—235
Jeffrey Hooper (Midlothian), 79-74-83—236
Ron Reedy Jr. (Marion), 77-78-82—237
Richard Ogden (Chesapeake), 77-77-83—237