Virginia (VSGA) Mid-Amateur Championship

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

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