Scott Shingler (Virginia State Golf Association Photo)
Scott Shingler said Friday that he probably spends 50 percent of his practice time grinding away at his short game, a dedication that served him well once the final match of the 76th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship reached its dramatic final holes.
Shingler got up and down for par to tie the final two holes and hold on for a 1-up victory over Matt Sughrue on Friday at Willow Oaks Country Club. With the win, Shingler joins a select group of players to have won both the VSGA Amateur and VSGA Senior Amateur Championships. The others are Keith Decker, David Partridge, Vinny Giles, and Richard Payne.
Shingler, 52, was participating in the VSGA Senior Amateur for the first time. Both finalists have participated in multiple USGA championships, so Friday’s title match was expected to be close and played at a very high level. It didn’t disappoint.
Sughrue, 63, made a birdie on the first hole to take a 1-up lead and pushed the edge to 2-up with a superb eagle on the par-5 5th, where he hit his approach from well over 200 yards away to five feet and sank the putt. Shingler struck back with a birdie on the par-3 No. 7 and tied the match a hole later with a conceded birdie on the par-5 No. 8. Sughrue’s second shot was lost in a penalty area, and when he was unable to hole out for par from off the green, he conceded to Shingler, who had about a 10-foot birdie putt.
Shingler hit it close on the par-3 No. 11 and sank the birdie putt to take the lead for the first time. He got up and down for par on the dogleg right par-4 13th, winning the hole to go 2 up as Sughrue struggled to navigate the trees lining the fairway and made a bogey.
Sughrue, a past U.S. Senior Amateur finalist, didn’t go away quietly. He dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 15 to cut the lead to one, but he couldn’t make the critical birdie in the final three holes to tie the match. Shingler (Dominion Valley CC), meanwhile, continued to excel with his short game. Though he hit his chip on 17 long, he recovered and sank about a 15-foot par putt to tie the hole, allowing him to go to No. 18 still 1 up.
On No. 18, Sughrue reached the green in regulation while Shingler was short and right of the hole. Shingler hit his chip to about five feet, and Sughrue just missed his birdie putt. Shingler converted the par putt to secure the win.
This marked the third time in the last five years that the Senior Amateur championship match went to at least the 18th hole. Steve Serrao won in 19 holes in 2020. Shingler, who lives in Haymarket, is the first winner from Northern Virginia since Rich Buckner won in 2017. Prior to that, the last NoVa winner was Great Falls’ Bob Morris in 2007.View results for VSGA Senior Amateur
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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