Keith Decker-Pat Tallent lead Virginia Senior Four-Ball
Keith Decker-Pat Tallent started strong on Wednesday <br>(VSGA Photo)
Keith Decker-Pat Tallent started strong on Wednesday
(VSGA Photo)

FAIRFAX, VA (May 24, 2017) - Keith Decker and Pat Tallent are seeking their third victory in the Virginia Senior Four-Ball Championship. Mike Krulich and Pete DeTemple are trying to become the second side this decade to win back-to-back titles in the event.

Both scenarios are in play heading into Thursday’s second and final round of the 35th VSGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at International Country Club.

Decker (Chatmoss CC) and Tallent (Westwood CC) opened their round with an eagle and soared from there, posting a 9-under-par 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Krulich (Ballyhack CC) and DeTemple (Old Hickory GC).

Northern Virginians Andy Heye (Chantilly National G&CC) and Rich Buckner (Robert Trent Jones GC) returned a 7-under 64 and are two strokes back. Philip Mahone/Timothy Vigotsky (Farmington CC) and Leon Roday (Kinloch GC)/Scott Reisenweaver (Salisbury CC) are tied for fourth after posting 6-under 65s on the par-71 layout.

Decker and Tallent were the event’s last back-to-back champs, winning in 2014 and 2015. Even then, they didn’t put together a round like they did on a cool Wednesday at International, where lift, clean, and place rules were in play due to a soaking overnight rain.

After the eagle on No. 1, they birdies Nos. 4 and 5 and turned at 31. They matched that score on the back with five more birdies. Their best round in their two championship years was a 64 in the first round at The Water’s Edge in Penhook in 2014.

“We played well, we teamed well,” Decker said. “We got off to a good start. We might have had a couple of five or six footers for par, but other than that, it wasn’t too stressful, which was nice.”

Tallent has plenty of experience at International. Several members of his family are members at the club, and he posted a round of 65 here in 2008 on his way to a championship in the Northern Virginia Amateur.

Krulich and DeTemple squashed Decker and Tallent’s chance at a Senior Four-Ball three-peat by winning last year’s championship at Williamsburg Golf Club, and they gave the lead side plenty of pushback on Wednesday. Krulich/DeTemple posted a bogey-free 63 and were as hot at the end of their round as Decker and Tallent were at the beginning of theirs.DeTemple and Krulich made the turn at 3 under and ripped off five birdies in their final eight holes, including three straight to end the round.

“Fun round of golf today,” Krulich said. “Pete is such a strong player. He was in every single hole, and he made a couple of just huge putts to keep us going and keep us in it. … I was all over the place and managed to scrape in a few birdies, but knowing that Pete was there gave me the freedom to take some chances, and a couple of them paid off.”

That Buckner and Heye are in the mix should come as a surprise to no one, considering their strong play in last year’s event, when they finished in a three-way tie for second a shot back of DeTemple and Krulich. Buckner also reached the championship match at the VSGA Senior Amateur Championship last summer before falling to Decker.

Buckner and Heye, who have known each other for more than a quarter century, were 2 under through 11 before a string of five straight birdies helped vault them into contention.“It wasn’t pretty,” Heye said. “[Buckner] hit a 35-foot putt on 13 straight downhill. Then he hit it 12 feet but off the green on the next hole and chipped in.”

Roday and Reisenweaver started hotter than just about anyone in the field, posting five birdies in their first six holes and turning at 5 under. They bogeyed No. 10 and played the rest of the round at 2 under to finish at 66. Reisenweaver is coming off a top-10 finish at last week’s VSGA Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship (with David Jordan). Roday entered the week leading the VSGA Senior Player Rankings points list.

“I was looking for a guy way younger than me, and I found one,” Roday joked. “I’m no idiot. … We’ve actually become pretty good friends. We worked together a bunch over the winter on our swings.”

Added Reisenweaver: “We’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.”The biggest challenge on Thursday may be dealing with the weather. Rain is expected overnight and storms are forecast to hit the area by mid-afternoon.

The first groups will start at 8 a.m., with the final group set to tee off at 10:01 a.m.

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ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Four-Ball

36-hole four-ball stroke play competition (18 holes per day). Open to VSGA Members who will are at least 50 years old and have an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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