Partridge-Kelly capture Virginia Senior Four-Ball
-- photo VSGA
-- photo VSGA
CAPE CHARLES, Va (May 23, 2012) -- Richmond-area golfers David Partridge (Manakin) and Tim Kelley (Ashland) posted a final round score of 7-under-par 65 to roll to a wire-to-wire 11-stroke runaway victory as the 30th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Four-Ball Championship concluded today at Bay Creek Resort & Club’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Course.

Partridge and Kelley concluded the event at 16-under 128, outdistancing their next nearest-pursuers, John Casstevens (Glen Allen) and Tom Grady (Marshall), who closed with 5-under 67 to finish at 5-under 139.

Area golfers Skip Zobel (Virginia Beach) and Bay Creek member Joseph Restein (Cape Charles) returned 6-under 66, the second lowest round of the day, to close action in a three-way tie for third at 4-under 140, along with 2009 winners Bert Allen-Chuck Brewer of Forest and Jack Allara II (Salem)-Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Ridge), who were four shots back of the leaders to start the day.

But it was a day for Partridge and Kelley to shine. Their rounds of 63-65 were the two lowest at this year’s championship. Partridge and Kelley, ranked 1-2, respectively, among last year’s VSGA points’ leaders, triumphed in their second straight year partnering together.

“I don’t know what it is for Tim, but the key for me is that I have a good partner,” Partridge said with a laugh. “We team together well. I think we have good chemistry together and our games are similar. We help one another because we understand how the other one plays. I hope we’ll have a chance to play more together in the future.”

At the 2011 championship, they were witness to history as northern Virginians Bob Morris and Pat Tallent set the event’s 36-hole scoring record at 126. This time around, they secured their own spot in the record books. Their 11-stroke triumph signals the event’s largest victory margin, eclipsing the previous best-ever mark of eight shots previously held by 1992 champions Bob Moyers and Jim Kite.

Partridge-Kelley birdied both par 5s en route to playing the first nine in three under to open up a seven-stroke lead over Allen-Brewer. At 12 under for the championship following the outward half, seemingly the only matter left outstanding was to get the engraver to put their names on the trophy.

The tandem collected four birdies in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 11-16 and they played the four par 5s in four under on day two. Bogey-free during the championship, Partridge-Kelley’s 16-under 128 total ties the second-lowest 36-hole aggregate in the event, equaling the score of Jamie Gough-Bill Stout in their 2002 victory at Two Rivers Country Club in Williamsburg.

Partridge had nine birdies over the two days, while Kelley added seven of his own.

“I can’t catch up with him,” Kelley said with a smile. “David is so solid that it frees you up. I feel really comfortable partnering with David because he always stays positive and if I hit it a bad shot, here or there, it doesn’t bother him.

“I’ve played with David for a long time and obviously I have a lot of respect for him. He is definitely the best ball-striker I’ve ever played with. I can’t imagine hitting it more solid than what he does anyway.”

Partridge-Kelley kept their foot on the accelerator during the final round in blowing past the field. They didn’t have a 5 on their scorecard on the closing day. Partridge made par at the par-4 fifth hole a day after his partner did the same.

“That was one of our big goals – not to make a bogey,” Kelley said.

Said Partridge: “We were trying to shoot the best score we could. We weren’t concerned about how many shots we were ahead by; whenever you play golf, you want to play the very best that you can and that’s the way we approached today’s round.”

Last season, Partridge became the only player to own the VSGA Senior Amateur and Senior Open titles in the same rotation and now adds the Senior Four-Ball to his mantle in an unprecedented title trifecta in VSGA annals.

“Well, I’ve certainly had a good time with it,” said the 57-year-old Partridge. “I am enjoying playing in senior events.”

Kelley, 56, likely feels the same way. Last year’s VSGA Senior Stroke Play champion, the central Virginia framing contractor is the first player to hold both the Senior Stroke and Senior Four-Ball titles in the same rotation since 2008 when Richmond’s Steve Isaacs claimed both events.

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