Mark Lawrence Jr. (VSGA)
Virginia Tech’s Mark Lawrence Jr.’s game is more than what meets the eye. The tall, burly Hokie pounds it a mile like we’re accustomed to seeing every week on the PGA Tour, but his distance does not come at a cost to his short game.
Defeating 17-year-old David Stanford of Vienna, Virginia, 3&2 to claim the 107th Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship, Lawrence put all facets of his game on display.
The 36-hole championship match ebbed and flowed throughout the day, but Lawrence showed complete control of his game, and subsequently his opponent.
Commanding a 3 up lead after the morning 18, Lawrence kept applying pressure, winning the 19th hole to take a 4 up lead. On No. 2 (hole 20), Lawrence found himself in some trouble with a delicate chip that was needed to save par and halve the hole to maintain the 4 up advantage.
“I typically get talked about as a guy who hits it pretty far,” Lawrence told the VSGA. “But I work on my short game more than I work on anything else, and actually, what I feel is the best part of my game is my chipping. I have a lot of confidence in my wedges around the green, just because I’ve worked at it a lot.”
Having his work pay off, Lawrence saw the chip shot fall in for the halve.
With his lead cut in half thanks to wins by Stanford on Nos. 7 and 8, Lawrence found himself needing to rely on his wedge play to maintain momentum on the driveable par-4 12th. Blasting his drive into a greenside bunker, Lawrence got up and down from 12-feet to take a 3 up lead with just six to play.
After Stanford left a putt one revolution short on No. 14 to win the hole and cut Lawrence’s lead to 2 up with four to play, Lawrence closed out the marathon match with par halves on Nos. 15 and 16 to win his home state title.
Lawrence made elite company, becoming just the fourth player in state history to win both the Virginia Amateur and the State Open, a feat that has not happened in 35 years.
With the Atlantic Coast Conference dropping the hammer on the fall golf season due to COVID-19, Lawrence is still trying to figure out his immediate future.
“There’s no Q School until 2021,” Lawrence said. “As of right now, the Tech team is planning on playing in the spring, so I plan to play in the spring. Hopefully, I can play well enough in the spring that I can earn status through the PGA Tour University. If not that, it’s going to be Q School next year, it’s just a matter of whether or not they have China, Latinoamerica, Canada, those tours, before Q School. So, it’s sort of up in the air.”
The win marks Lawrence’s seventh VSGA title, good for 11th all-time.
ABOUT THE Virginia Amateur
36 holes of stroke play qualifying (18 holes per
the low 32 players advance to match play. Non-
players must pre-qualify. Open to VSGA members of
ages. Participants must hold an active GHIN number
issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good
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