VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Two-time defending champion Keith Decker (Chatmoss Country Club, Martinsville) followed an opening round 66 with a 4-under-par 65 and ran away with medalist honors after 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying at the 68th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship at the Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club.
The 55-year-old Decker finished the qualifying portion of the tournament with a 7-under total of 131 and earned the medal for the second year in a row.
The 36 holes of qualifying determined the 32 players who advanced to match play that begins Wednesday with two matches.
James Gallagher, 56 (Tidewater Amateur Golf Tour, Yorktown) posted an even-par 69 Tuesday and gained the second seed with a two-day total of 1-under 137. Gallagher was the runner-up to Decker in the 2013 Senior Amateur at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville.
Earlier this summer, Gallagher won the VSGA Senior Stroke Play title at Winchester Country Club with the help of a 3-under-par 69 in the final round and a double bogey by Decker on the 36th hole.
Mike Caprio, 52 (Reston National, Arlington), the first-round leader with 65, slipped to 73 Tuesday. He was one of six players to finish 36 holes with an even-par aggregate of 138. They were seeded through a blind draw.
The third seed went to Stan Britton, 55 (Cypress Cove CC, Franklin), who was one of four players to shoot 1-under 68 Tuesday. The fourth seed belongs to Skip Zobel, 60 (Princess Anne CC, Virginia Beach), who also shot 68.
Caprio received the fifth seed, and past two-time Senior Amateur champion Vinny Giles, 72 (Kinloch CC, Richmond), the most senior player left in the field, is the sixth seed.
Pete DeTemple, 53 (Old Hickory GC, California, Md.), and George Riefler, 59 (Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk), a quarterfinalist last year, are the seventh and eighth seeds respectively.
Past champions in addition to Giles who made match play are John Cuomo, 67 (Stonehenge G&CC, Richmond) and David Partridge, 60 (Hermitage CC, Manakin).
For the second day in a row, the first hole provided the only blemish on Decker’s scorecard. He double bogeyed No. 1 on Monday and started with bogey on Tuesday. He birdied the short, tight layout’s two par 5s (Nos. 4 and 6) and added another birdie at the ninth. He toured the inward nine in 2-under with consecutive birdies at the 15th and 16th holes.
Gallagher, a retired Air Force colonel, started slowly with bogeys at the first and fourth holes. He bounced back with back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth and another at the ninth. He bogeyed No. 13 on the back nine.
Seven players finished with 6-over 144 totals and played off for the last four spots in the match-play field. Frank Moore, 56 (Signature at West Neck, Chesapeake), Hung Yim, 56 (Stonehenge G&CC, Midlothian), Ronald Wetherbee, 52 (Shenandoah Valley GC, Front Royal) and John Hoffman, 62 (Westfields GC, Fairfax) were the survivors.
Wetherbee is Decker’s first-round opponent. Gallagher meets Yim.
ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Amateur
36 holes of stroke play qualifying (18 holes per
the low 32 players advance to match play. Open to
VSGA members who are at least 50 years of age
holding an active GHIN number issued by a licensed
VSGA Member Club in good standing.
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