Keith Decker and Patrick Tallent
FAIRFAX, VA (May 25, 2017) - Pat Tallent, who has won both the U.S. Senior Amateur and British Amateur titles in his illustrious playing career, summed up his playing partner in the 35th VSGA Senior-Four Ball Championship quite succinctly.
“He’s a Hall of Famer, and he played like one right when we needed it,” Tallent said Thursday.
Decker, who was inducted into the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame last week, added another chapter to his storybook career in VSGA events Thursday at International Country Club. He made clutch birdies on holes No. 16 and 17, giving his side just enough cushion to fend off Scott Reisenweaver and Leon Roday for the side’s third victory in the event in the last four years.
Decker (Chatmoss CC) and Tallent (Westwood CC) posted a 14-under 128 over two days, the lowest winning score in the event since David Partridge and Tim Kelley returned the same number in 2012. Reisenweaver (Salisbury CC) and Roday (Kinloch GC) went 65-64 for a 129 that tied for the lowest runner-up score in the history of the event.
Afterward, Tallent was effusive in his praise for his playing partner.
“Keith Decker’s the best player in the state and he’s one of the top players in the country,” Tallent said. “I just play Tonto and let him be the Lone Ranger and help him out when I can.”
Decker won his record 28th VSGA championship. Tallent added a fifth title to his resume, and the side became just the second in history to win three Senior Four-Ball Championships.
Philip Mahone and Tom Vigotsky (Farmington CC) tied for third with 2016 champions Pete DeTemple (Old Hickory GC) and Mike Krulich (Ballyhack GC) at 11-under 131. Andy Heye (Chantilly National G&CC) and Rich Buckner (Robert Trent Jones GC) shot an 8-under 134 to round out the top five.
Due to threatening weather and overnight rain that left the course soggy yet playable, the final round began with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. It was a three-team race at the turn—Tallent and Decker, Reisenweaver and Roday, and Krulich and DeTemple.
Krulich and DeTemple cooled off after a birdie on No. 10 and finished their round with eight straight pars. The Roday-Reisenweaver pairing caught fire on the back nine. Reisenweaver ran off three straight birdies on holes 11, 12 and 13 to keep pace with the leaders and Reisenweaver rolled home a 3-footer for birdie on 16 to keep their hopes alive.
But just ahead of them, Decker showed just why he’s one of the most accomplished amateurs in the nation. After hitting a couple of shaky shots on the par-5 16th, Decker found himself behind a mound left and short of the hole for his third shot. He finessed a wedge to within eight feet and made the birdie putt to end a string of five straight pars for his side.
“I hit a few terrible shots but kept it in play,” Decker said. “I made a few up and downs, but I wasn’t pleased with the shots, and I was certainly frustrated. [The birdie on 16] helped, and making the putt on the next hole really helped.”
On the par-3 17th, Decker hit his tee shot hole high left of the flagstick, just on the apron. He had a good line and drained the 25 footer that proved to be the deciding factor in the tournament.
“You never know if you’re going to make a 25 footer or not,” Decker said. “But when I hit it, it felt good. I looked up and saw it was on line, and it just happened to go in.”
Roday and Reisenweaver came to the 18th tee with a chance to tie and force a playoff. Reisenweaver’s approach landed on the apron and didn’t release much toward the hole, leaving him a 15-foot birdie putt that he missed. Roday’s approach was a good 25 feet past the hole, and he just missed the comebacker.
“It was a lot of fun to get in the hunt and feel the pressure and respond a little bit,” Reisenweaver said. “We were thinking we would have to shoot 62 to beat them, and that’s what it would have taken.”
Said Roday: “You can’t make bogeys in this format. We made one yesterday and one today and we paid the price.”
View results for VSGA Senior Four-Ball
ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Four-Ball
36-hole four-ball stroke play competition (18 holes
day). Open to VSGA Members who will are at least
years old and have an active GHIN number issued
licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.
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