Mondy repeats at the Virginia Junior Amateur

SUFFOLK, Va., July 28, 2011 – Blacksburg ’s Jake Mondy likely couldn’t have scripted the final round of his last start at the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship any better.

The 18-year-old Mondy delivered a championship-best 6-under-par 66 on the last day to blow past the field and post a four- stroke victory as the 59th renewal of the championship concluded today at Cedar Point Country Club.

Playing in the last Junior for which he is eligible before passing the age eligibility limit of 18 in September, Mondy, a spring graduate of Blacksburg High School, finished at 7-under 209 (72-71-66). Local Alex Lloyd, 17 of Virginia Beach, a rising senior at Floyd E. Kellam High School, closed with even-par 72 (3-under 213) to finish second. Fellow 17-year-old Richmond residents Christopher Kapsak (70), a rising senior at Trinity Episcopal School, and  Adam Ball (74), a rising junior at St. Christopher’s School and a semifinalist at last week’s U.S. Junior, concluded play seven strokes back at even-par 216.

Even though he started the day two strokes off Lloyd’s lead, it would ultimately matter little for Mondy, who shined on the final day, collecting seven birdies against a bogey while missing just one green in regulation.

Talk about exiting the stage in a memorable way. With the triumph, Mondy (pictured right), who won last year’s Junior at Roanoke Country Club, became the third player to claim back-to-back titles in the past four decades and the sixth player ever take home the F.J.D. Mackay Trophy in consecutive years. Most recently, Virginia Beach resident Brinson Paolini (now a rising junior at Duke University) claimed back-to-back Junior titles in 2007-08 and then went on to win a record three straight VSGA Amateur Championship titles (2008-10). The others to repeat are: Cameron Yancey (1995- 96); Jimmy Ellis (1968-69); Lloyd Liebler (1966- 67) and World Golf Hall of Fame member Lanny Wadkins (1964-65).

“For it to be my last Junior, to repeat and to have my name on that trophy with Brinson, Cameron and the other great players is special,” said Mondy, bound for Auburn University in the fall on a golf scholarship. “It was big to finish on a high note like that.”

Mondy played nearly flawlessly on the final day and was sharp from tee to green. He stuffed controlled wedge shots to inside 6 feet at the two par 5s on the outward half, Nos. 3 and 6, to set up birdies. He holed a 20-footer at the par-4 eighth to tie Lloyd for the lead at four under at the turn. 

Mondy would leave the field in the distant on the second nine, playing a six-hole stretch from Nos. 12-17 in three under par. At the par-3 12th hole, he drilled a pure 8-iron through the wind, nearly holing out the tee shot that came to rest 10 inches from the flagstick.

“That was huge. I don’t know how it didn’t go in,” Mondy said. “The ball mark was right next to the hole. After that shot, I knew that it was probably going to be my day.”

He was right. He hit the par-5 14th in two to set up another birdie, then escaped a little trouble after an errant tee shot at the par-4 14th, recovering to punch an 8-iron to 4 feet. After his only blemish of the day at the par-3 16th, Mondy rebounded and detonated a 315- yard tee shot through a headwind at the 500- yard, par-5 17th leaving with him just a 7-iron in to set up one last birdie.

The long-hitting Mondy admittedly likes the Cedar Point layout, a layout that rewards bombers who are accurate. He reached the quarterfinals of the VSGA Amateur Championship conducted at the course in 2009. Mondy had all parts of his game in order on the closing day in accounting for the low round of this year’s championship.

“I’ve been waiting for something to click,” he said. “I’ve changed my swing a little bit this summer and haven’t quite played the way I wanted to. It clicked a little bit [Wednesday] and it really clicked today.

“I hit it probably the best I’ve ever hit it in my life today. It was a very non-stressful round, which was nice.”

Lloyd made back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16 to drop back to two under before collecting a birdie at the 17th hole. As they were exiting the green at the next-to-last hole, Ball and Lloyd, a part of the last group of three in the final round, told their friend Mondy, playing a grouping ahead of them, what the leader board would soon unmistakably reveal: another Junior title was his.

Mondy dedicated the victory to his late father, David Mondy Jr., who died on Oct. 26, 2010, two weeks after Jake won the Virginia High School League Group AA individual title. For Jake, his father brought him to the game and remained his teacher and mentor through the years. He could fix Jake’s swing in a moment’s notice, sight unseen. Jake admitted he gained inspiration from the memory of his father.

“I know my dad was with me today when I was playing the back nine,” Mondy said. “He was my only swing coach since I picked up a club when I could first walk. He’s meant everything to my golf game and there’s no way I would be here in this position without him. I know he was looking down on me today.”

ABOUT THE Virginia Junior Stroke Play

54-hole stroke play competition (18 holes per day). The field will be cut to the top 45 players and ties following round two. All non-exempt players must qualify to play in the championship. Open to VSGA members who have not reached their 19th birthday and who hold an active GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA Member Club in good standing.

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