Virginia Sr. Stroke Play: Decker takes early lead
Keith Decker
Keith Decker

DANVILLE, Virg. (June 12, 2013) –– Stoked by a second nine surge, Martinsville’s Keith Decker shot a first-round score of 3-under-par 67 and owns a two-stroke lead entering Wednesday’s final day of the 28th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Stroke Play Championship at Danville Golf Club.

Decker, 53, making his debut appearance in the event, shot a bogey-free round of 4-under 31 on the inward half to grab the lead. Billy Jahn, 55, of Virginia Beach and northern Virginian John Long, 60, of Centreville are Decker’s next-nearest pursuers after opening with 1-under 69. McLean’s George Kapetanakis, 59, posted 1-over 71 and is four back. Tim Vigotsky, 59, Centreville, Pat Tallent, 59, of Vienna and Allen Barber, 54, of Yorktown, each had 72.

After shooting one over on the outward nine, Decker made birdie at the par-4 10th to get to even par and then ran off three more birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16, with his longest putt in that stretch being 15 feet.

“I started out badly and thought, ‘Oh, no, this isn’t good,’ ” Decker said with a chuckle. “But I played pretty well the rest of the way.”

Decker lives about 25 minutes from Danville Golf Club and is admittedly fond of the classic layout—with good reason. He won his first VSGA Amateur in 1988 at the club and has claimed the W. Townes Lea, an invitational tournament held each spring at the club, nine times.

“I’m not a member here, but I consider it like a home course because I’ve played it so many times,” Decker said.

The points leader in the regular division of the VSGA player rankings entering the event and the winner of 19 ‘major’ VSGA titles, Decker is looking for his second individual triumph in the senior category, having also won the 2010 Senior Open of Virginia.

Jahn plays in competitive events only occasionally, but didn’t show much rust, and was three under par through 11 holes before making two late bogeys. Long had a roller coaster round—equaling Decker’s five birdies—but two bogeys and a double derailed his chances of going any lower.

n the super senior division (ages 65 and over), Richmond’s Stan Fischer shot even-par 70—bettering his age by two strokes—to lead the way. Oakton’s Walt Martin (71) and Dillwyn’s Terry Towler (72) are second and third in the division, respectively.

View results for VSGA Senior Stroke Play

ABOUT THE VSGA Senior Stroke Play

36-hole stroke play competition (18 holes per day). Age groups will be 50-54, 55-59 and 60-and-over. All players will compete from the same set of tees. Open to VSGA members 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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