Virginia Mid-Senior and Super Senior Division Winners
ZION CROSSROADS, VA (July 9, 2016) -- Four champions were crowned Saturday at Spring Creek Golf Club as the 22nd VSGA Super Senior Amateur and 1st VSGA Mid-Senior Amateur championships concluded.
The three Super Senior champions were Marshall’s Tom Grady (Shenandoah Valley GC) in the 65-69 age group; Midlothian’s Jim Hudson (Salisbury CC) in the 70-74 age group; and Oakton’s Walt Martin (Army Navy CC) in the 75-and-over group.
In addition, McLean’s George Kapetanakis (Trump National GC) won the title in the Mid-Senior Amateur, a championship created for players aged 60-64.
1st VSGA MID-SENIOR AMATEUR
Kapetanakis got an idea early on that his putter was hot. His opponent, Jeff Flax (Cavalier G&YC, Virginia Beach) stuffed his approached close on the second hole after both players had birdied No. 1 in the championship match. Though Kapetanakis was 45 feet away on the green, he bombed home a birdie putt, which helped him halve the hole after Flax made his birdie.
Kapetanakis’ hot putting continued, and it played a huge role in a 3-under round and a 3 and 2 win over Flax. Kapetanakis got up and down from a tough spot on No. 3 for par, and he took his first lead with a birdie on No. 4.
“It was a very good start,” he said.
Kapetanakis never trailed in the championship match. He went two up with a par on No. 6. Flax twice was able to cut the lead to one, the second time coming when he made birdie on the par-3 13th hole. But Kapetanakis made par on No. 14 as Flax bogeyed, and a par on No. 16 clinched the match for Kapetanakis, who owns a family restaurant in McLean.
“Jeff really played well,” Kapetanakis said. “Congratulations to him. And the course was really magnificent, in great condition. Beautiful, beautiful golf course. A lot of really well designed holes. I really enjoyed it.”
22nd VSGA Super Senior Amateur
Grady has a Senior Open of Virginia title on his resume, but he’s never been able to claim one of the VSGA’s Amateur championships until Saturday, when he defeated stroke-play medalist Bill Engel 3 and 2 in the title match.
“It’s nice to win a state amateur title,” Grady said. “I always wanted to win the Senior Am. But Jamie Gough beat me in the finals there, and I’ve always kind of been trying to get back. I can’t compete with the young seniors now, so this is good.”
Grady jumped to a 2-up lead after six holes and doubled his margin after making a long two-putt par on No. 11. But Engel (Army Navy CC, Alexandria) didn’t wilt. He won the next two holes to put the pressure back on Grady, who responded by winning No. 14 to push his lead back to 3 up. Engel won the next hole, but Grady finished the match by making birdie on No. 16.
“Bill Engel is just a dogged, good competitor,” Grady said. “There’s no quit in Bill. I had him four down, but you should have seen the determination in his face. That’s what match play is all about. It’s like being back in high school, playing one-on-one basketball, or whatever you played.”
Hudson recently retired, dedicated himself to losing weight and improving his golf game, and the efforts were rewarded with a VSGA championship.
Hudson snuck past Tom Hackett (The Foundry GC, Powhatan) 1 up to become the only medalist in the two tournaments to win a title. Hudson had to survive a 20-hole semifinal on Friday and an 18-hole match Saturday to claim his title.
“Beforehand, I would have been so tired I wouldn’t have been able to finish,” Hudson said.
His match with Hackett was all square through eight holes, but wins on Nos. 9 and 11 gave Hackett a 2-up lead. Hudson won Nos. 12 and 13 to square the match again, and it remained that way until No. 18, when Hackett’s second shot went off line, leading to a lost ball and a penalty stroke. Hudson reached the green in regulation, and Hackett conceded.
“It was an up and down match,” Hudson said. “I was two down there, but I came back to win. Amazing.”
75 AND OVER DIVISION
Martin recently took a month away from golf to go to the United Kingdom with his wife for what he called a “bucket list trip.” While there, he experienced the madness of Brexit and the joy of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, which included both England and Wales. When he returned stateside, he put a new set of Titleist irons into play, and he said those were the key to his 3 and 1 win over New Market’s Bob Moyers (Shenvalee Golf Resort) in the championship match.
“It was very satisfying, even more so to beat a Virginia legend like Bob Moyers. Bob’s won a lot of stuff, way before I even came to Virginia,” said Martin, who lost in the title match of the 70-74 age group last year. “He’s a great competitor, and a really nice man.”
Martin took the lead for good by winning No. 6, and he clinched the match on No. 17 when he hit his tee shot on the par-3 hole within three feet. Moyers conceded the putt, and Martin, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served for 33 years, had his first VSGA Super Senior victory.
“I’m a Titlelist loyalist and a believer, so it worked out pretty good,” Martin said. “I hit some really good irons today.”
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