NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (May 10, 2013) –– Charlottesville-area golfers Vincent Nadeau and Brad Ferguson matched a championship-best final round 8-under 62 to post a two-stroke victory at the 48th Virginia State Golf Association Four-Ball Championship, which concluded today at James River Country Club.
The Gordonsville residents played bogey-free in the final round, completed play at 14-under 126 and claimed their first victory in the event. Defending champions Keith Decker (Martinsville) and Scott Shingler (Haymarket) delivered a closing 63 to finish second (12-under 128). Area golfers Jason Robertson (Virginia Beach) and Adam Horton (Chesapeake) had 64 and finished four back at 10-under 130.
But the day belonged to Nadeau-Ferguson, who trailed overnight leaders Wes Smith and Matt Hopkins of Virginia Beach entering Saturday’s last day. In the final round, Nadeau-Ferguson shot three under on the outward half to take a one-stroke lead over two other teams heading to the second nine.
There, they hit the accelerator, playing a five-hole stretch from Nos. 11-15 in four under par to get to 13 under and hold the lead for good. Nadeau started the stretch by holing a 35-footer from short of the putting surface at the par-4 11th. Looking comfortable and confident on James River’s pure putting surfaces, Ferguson knocked in an 8-footer at No. 12 before snaking in a left-to-right breaker from 40 feet one hole later.
“I told Vincent that I thought I could make just about anything on these greens, they’re so good” Ferguson said. “The putt on 14 looked good the moment I hit it.”
They weren’t done. Nadeau stuffed his 9-iron to four inches at the par-3 15th to cap the decisive second-nine surge. Nadeau, using his length at the par-5 finishing hole, played 3-iron off the tee for position, played a 3-iron second shot and a soft pitching wedge third to just left of the putting surface before sinking the 15-footer for birdie from off the green.
Nadeau and Ferguson, VSGA members at Spring Creek Golf Club in Gordonsville, collected their first victory in a VSGA championship and took home the Wallace McDowell Trophy awarded to the champions.
“It’s nice. We’ve both always wanted to win a VSGA championship and it does a lot for our confidence,” said Nadeau, 25, a 2010 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ferguson, 38, only began playing competitive golf about four years ago, but any lack of experience on the VSGA stage wasn’t evident as he seemingly handled greens that require precision with ease during the two-day, 36-hole event.
“To be able to compete against the best players in the commonwealth and win means a ton,” Ferguson said. “I’m not sure it has sunk in for either one of us—maybe it will tomorrow.”
Decker shot 6-under 64 on his own ball in the final round and posted 5-under 30 on the back nine to stoke him and his partner’s surge. It started at the par-5 10th where he hit the flagstick with his third shot before the ball came to rest 10 inches from the hole. Thereafter, Decker drained a 15-footer at the par-4 12th, nearly holed out his tee shot at the par-3 13th before making birdie putts of 12 and 20 feet at the next two holes.
Still, it wasn’t enough. The tandem watched putts slip by on the first day en route to a 65 and other opportunities went awry on the outward half in the final round.
“We played pretty well, but the better team won today,” Decker said. “We let some shots get away on the front. We played well on the back. We can’t complain. We just got beat.”
Nadeau-Ferguson were aware that two of the top players in the commonwealth in Decker and Shingler were chasing them on the second nine. The Nadeau-Ferguson tandem trailed heading into the second nine at last week’s Belle Haven Four-Ball before going on to claim the event. Both knew they needed the same aggressive approach to pull away from a packed leaderboard this time around.
“We knew we had to get it going on the back,” Nadeau said. “Last week showed us we can do it, at least.”
Since round-by-round records started being kept for the championship in 1985, the three rounds of 62 at this year’s event matches the event’s single-round record set in 1987 and 1994. In addition to the Smith-Hopkins team firing 62 in the first round, the father-son tandem of Mark Lawrence and Mark Lawrence Jr. of Richmond also closed with 62 on Saturday. They concluded the championship at 9-under 131, along with fellow central Virginians Scott Bemberis and Scott Reisenweaver.
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