Virginia Club Champ: Willow Oaks wins by 1
POWHATAN, Va (April 15, 2014) –– Team members from Central Virginia-based Willow Oaks Country Club combined to shoot 8-under-par 136, fueling the team to a one-stroke victory over three other clubs at the 72nd Virginia State Golf Association Club Championship conducted today at The Foundry Golf Club.

For Willow Oaks, a club based in south Richmond, amateurs Cam Young (Richmond) and Hank Klein (Glen Allen) used a late surge to shoot 4-under 68, while the club’s head PGA professional, Richard White (Chesterfield) partnered with amateur Steve Serrao (Midlothian) to post the same number.

Their total was good enough to get past Spring Creek Golf Club (Charlottesville area), as well as fellow Richmond-area clubs Kinloch Golf Club’s ‘A’ contingent and Hermitage Country Club’s ‘B’ team. The trio of clubs completed the competition at 7-under 137.

The competition featured a morning and afternoon shotgun start and consisted of golfers representing 40 teams of VSGA member clubs. Each club divided its four players into two four-ball teams. In the four-ball format, each player played his ball into the hole, but only the best score was counted toward the team aggregate. The club’s total score was determined by adding the team’s four-ball score together.

Spring Creek delivered the best round of the morning. But as a part of the afternoon wave, Willow Oaks saved some of their best for the late moments. Young and Klein birdied their last three holes and four of their last five to help set the final margin. Starting their round on No. 4, in the closing stages, Young birdied No. 17 from 10 inches, Klein knocked in a six-footer at No. 1, Young added a birdie from five feet one hole later and Klein completed the surge at No. 3, sinking an eight-footer to bolster the team to the title.

“To birdie four of the last five—we’d sort of been in a rut—but we finished strong and never quit,” Young said. “It was really nice to finish well.”

Klein and Young have been playing tournament and casual golf together for more than 10 years; their camaraderie and competitive drive showed when it counted most.

“Neither one of us ever gives up,” Klein said. “We just kept going.”

Was he nervous standing over putts that would ultimately decide the outcome?

“Nah, that’s not me,” Klein said with a smile. “We just go out and play and have fun.”

Serrao and White registered five birdies against a bogey, were bogey-free over their last 13 holes and played the layout’s four par 5s in three under par. Serrao contributed three birdies, but White made two of his own at Nos. 14 and 16 as the tandem continued to build some momentum during their round.

“That’s about as well as we could’ve shot,” Serrao said. “We scored about as well as we could’ve.”

With both competitors having birdie opportunities for much of the day, Kinloch ‘A’ was paced by professional Michael Gebhard (Glen Allen) and amateur Leon Roday (Henrico), who carded 67, including firing 5-under 31 on the second nine. After Gebhard got the team to two under par with his third birdie of the day at No. 13, Roday’s putter caught fire and he accounted for a trio of birdies the rest of the way, including holing a 30-foot bomb at their last hole of the day, the par-4 18th.

“Leon was just so good—unbelievable all day,” Gebhard said.

Beginning their round on No. 15 for Hermitage ‘B’, Glen Allen-based amateurs Rick LaReau and Greg Bales birdied three of their first five holes to lead the team with 4-under 68. Also for Hermitage, Randy Milligan (Manakin-Sabot) and PGA professional Forrest Shuford (Richmond) added 69.

For Spring Creek, Vincent Nadeau (Gordonsville), combined with fellow amateur Brad Ferguson (Gordonsville) and contributed four of the team’s five birdies, including two in the late stages, holing a 15-footer at No 15 before snaking in a 30-footer at the next hole. Fellow team members and amateurs Jerry Burton (Gordonsville) and Judson Foster (Zion Crossroads) played the four par 5s in three under par en route to posting red numbers.

Both Burton and Foster admittedly had no idea what to expect when the round started. Burton had hip surgery more than two months ago and Foster, too, has played little golf.

“We were hoping to play at about even par and hope [Nadeau and Ferguson] would shoot about 10 under,” Burton said with a laugh.

Turns out they were part of a packed leaderboard in a friendly but competitive event that is gaining new life on the VSGA stage.

View results for VSGA Club Championship

ABOUT THE VSGA Club Championship

18-hole stroke play competition. Four players per club, each club enters two four-ball sides (any combination of regulars, seniors and/or super seniors and up to one professional). Sum of two (2) four-ball scores make up the team total. There will be a regular set of tee markers, a senior set of tee markers (for those ages 50 & over) and a super senior set of tee markers (for those ages 65 & over).

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