VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (June 26, 2012) –– Marshall Tinsley, 23, of Amherst shot an opening day 4-under-par 68 to pace the first round of stroke play qualifying as the 99th Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship got underway today at the 7,100-yard, par 72 Bayville Golf Club.
Eight of the 11 rounds under par came from the afternoon wave, with Tinsley leading the way with a five-birdie, one-bogey round.
In the morning session, prevailing winds gusted up to 20 miles per hour from the north off the Chesapeake Bay and placed an additional demand on club selection and shotmaking, producing only three subpar rounds.
Former Virginia Tech golfer Marshall Bailey, 23, of Fincastle (pictured left) had a morning-best 3-under 69. The other par-breakers prior to the afternoon starting times came from Bailey’s former Virginia Tech teammate for four years, Garland Green, 24, of Tazewell as well as current collegian Jake Mondy, 19, of Blacksburg, a rising sophomore at Auburn University, who each returned 2-under 70.
After lunch, three others joined the contingent at two under: 19-year-old Ji Soo Park (Centreville), the runner-up at last year’s VSGA Amateur and now a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, 18-year-old Adam Ball of Richmond (rising senior at central Virginia’s St. Christopher’s School), who is exempt off of last week’s triumph at the VSGA Junior Match Play Championship, and Daniel Walker, 21, of Earlysville (Charlottesville area), a rising senior at the University of Richmond.
Whims of the wind aside, one thing has remained relatively consistent at the Amateur – a crop of teenagers and twenty-somethings continues to headline the leaderboard. Of the 16 players who shot even par or better on day one, 14 of the scores came from competitors ages 24 and under, comprised of 10 golfers not yet classified as mid-amateurs (ages 25 and older) and four teenagers.
Riding a hot putter, Tinsley led the way. The Lynchburg-area golfer played a six-hole stretch from Nos. 7-12 in four under par, starting the run by knocking in putts of 8 and 20 feet at the par-4 seventh and ninth holes to turn in one under. His three birdies on the second nine totaled more than 70 feet. Tinsley snaked in a 35-plus footer at the par-4 10th, a 15-footer at the par-4 12th and a 20-footer at the par-4 17th to play bogey free on the inward nine.
Tinsley relied on a pre-tournament tip from friend and fellow Amherst resident Ryan Stinnett, the runner-up at the 2002 VSGA Amateur at Bayville. The two Winton Country Club members were a part of the same grouping in a member-guest event on Sunday at the club and Stinnett gave him some valuable advice about negotiating Bayville’s slick putting surfaces.
“Normally I’ll make one putt outside of 10 feet,” Tinsley said. “He said to try to stay below the hole and the putts will read exactly as you see them. I was able to trust my line and putted well today. I putt better on faster greens.
Tinsley admitted those playing in the afternoon had the better of the conditions and he made the most of his birdie chances.
“Hopefully, I’ll have more opportunities on Wednesday,” he said. “The more opportunities you have, the more chances you have to make putts.”
One over through the first five holes, Bailey played bogey-free the rest of the way, birdieing both par 5s by converting up and downs from greenside bunkers on his outward half, Nos. 15 (8 feet) and 18 (8 inches). He added two more on his second nine, including a closing birdie at the par-4 ninth hole from 10 feet.
The medalist in the Mattaponi Springs qualifier leading up to the championship in early June, it’s been a memorable few months for Bailey. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May and accepted a job offer on Monday at Zimmer Mid-Atlantic in Roanoke, a medical device equipment company, the day before the start of the Amateur.
Talk about entering an event with good vibes.
“I am excited about the opportunity and feeling good about everything right now,” Bailey said. “It’s going to be a good week no matter what.”
Bailey has never been past the round of 16 in match play in about a half-dozen previous VSGA Amateur starts and is taking a measured approach in his ambitions moving forward in the championship.
“I’ve been playing fairly nicely over the past month – pretty consistently. I don’t really have any goals are expectations. I want to go out and play the best that I can,” Bailey said. “I’d like to do some damage in match play even though I haven’t had too much luck in the past. But who knows? Maybe this year will change a little bit.
“I’m very pleased with the number. I mean, this place is tough.”
Following Wednesday’s second day of stroke play qualifying, the field will be reduced to the low 32 players for match play. There are currently 39 competitors at 3-over 75 entering the second round of stroke play qualifying.
Northern Virginian Dan Hosek (Alexandria), who turned 48 last week, led the mid-amateurs and was among a group of four competitors at 1-under 71, along with 21-year-olds Jeremy Wells (Hopewell) and Alec Kormanec (Vienna) as well as Josh Apple, 22, of Lansdowne. Wells is a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, while Kormanec is a rising senior at George Mason University.
Defending champion Scott Shingler, 40, of Haymarket opened with 1-over 73 as did local Brinson Paolini, 21, of Virginia Beach. Paolini, a Frank W. Cox High School graduate and now a rising senior at Duke University, recorded an unprecedented three straight VSGA Amateurs from 2009-11 prior to Shingler’s triumph last year at The Virginian in Bristol. Paolini managed his way around, made two bogeys and a birdie and finished his round by making 11 consecutive pars.
“It was a test of patience for me,” said Paolini, who says he is working on shaping his shots. “I wasn’t able to make a few putts, but I gave myself a lot of opportunities. The game is feeling really good. I just didn’t quite get the score out of the round, but I’m looking forward to [Wednesday].
“The goal in the stroke play is always to try and win the stroke play. I’m going to need a pretty low round to do that, but I’m going in with the mindset of shooting as low as I can and try and win the stroke play. I’m not going to skate through trying to get into match play. I want to get as good a good as I can, so hopefully I can get it going. I’m looking forward to it. My game is in good form. I wasn’t able to score today, unfortunately.”
Meanwhile, seven-time VSGA golfer of the year and VSGA points’ leader Keith Decker of Martinsville and reigning SunTrust State Open of Virginia champion Roger Newsom, a Virginia Beach ophthalmologist, each had 74. Shingler, Decker and Newsom had morning starting times on Tuesday.
The first and second rounds of match play are on Thursday, June 28, the quarterfinals and semifinals are Friday, June 29 and the scheduled 36-hole final is on Saturday, June 30.
View results for Virginia Amateur Golf Championship