POWHATAN –– Stoked by a strong closing nine, Fredericksburg’s Jon Hurst shot a final-round 1-under-par 71 to post a two-stroke victory as the 37th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship concluded today at The Foundry Golf Club.
The only competitor in the field to register three under par rounds, Hurst finished with a 7-under 209 aggregate (70-68-71). Charlottesville-area golfer Vincent Nadeau (Gordonsville) returned a final-round best 3-under 69 to place second (5-under 211). Local Jordan Utley of Richmond had 2-under 70 on the last day and finished four back at 3-under 213. Northern Virginian Scott Shingler (Haymarket), the 2010 event champion, logged 71 and was one of four competitors to finish in red numbers at 2-under 214. The championship is open to golfers 25 and older.
“The older you get, the more nervous you get. It always feels good to win—no matter what you win, because you come up short more than you win in golf,” said Hurst, 44. “It feels great. I hit the ball really well the last three days.”
Hurst began the final round with a three-stroke lead, but that advantage dwindled to a single stroke at the turn over the 27-year-old Utley, who shot 3-under 33 on the outward half.
Hurst started to steady himself with a birdie at the par-5 10th to get to six under for the event, but Nadeau, playing in the same grouping with Hurst, made consecutive birdies at Nos. 10 and 11, knocking in putts of 10 and 12 feet, respectively, to move to five under and within a shot of the lead.
At the demanding par-4 12th, Hurst, short of the putting surface, faced an awkward chip and sent the shot 10 feet past the hole. On the tough, downhill putt, he showed a great touch in sinking the par chance to retain his one-stroke lead over Nadeau.
“That was huge. That was a very big putt—and that wasn’t the easiest of putts,” Hurst said “I was not trying to hit the ball past the hole. That might’ve been the turning point for me. That putt kind of felt like a birdie and maybe got me a little more motivated.”
It showed as Hurst regained his trademark steady play returned and he didn’t miss a fairway or a green the rest of the way. Nadeau flew his third shot over the green at the par-4 13th, but played a terrific flop shot off hardpan to tap-in range. The bogey, though, dropped him two shots back of Hurst.
At the par-5 16th, Hurst played probably his best shot of the day. Facing a downhill lie, Hurst drilled his 3-wood second shot and the ball curved on an ideal left to right flight to a tough front right hole location, clearing a guarding left greenside bunker before the ball settled 12 feet left of the hole.
“That set up well for me. I hit that club well taking a little off and cutting it into holes. I actually hit it better when I hit soft rather than hard,” Hurst said. “It felt good. I knew I could cut it off that lie and I knew it was the right distance. All I had to do was hit the shot.”
Nadeau kept the pressure on, though, playing a crisp long bunker shot to 6 feet above the hole before calmly making the ensuing birdie putt. After Hurst’s eagle chance raced 4 feet, he drained the uphill comebacker for birdie to keep his lead at two strokes
“His putt made mine a little longer,” said Hurst, who owned the advantage the rest of the way.
Both players had chances at birdies on the second nine. Hurst crumpled to the ground, barely able to watch as his 12-footer for birdie at No. 14 nearly fell in. For his part, Nadeau’s 45-foot birdie chance at the par-4 15th hit the top lip of the hole and somehow stayed out. Later, his birdie chance at the par-3 17th narrowly missed on the low side.
“I had a number in mind—it was a 67 and that would’ve tied me (with Hurst),” said Nadeau, who was making his debut appearance in the event after turning 25 in March. “I tried not to play Jon too much because that can get you in trouble. I played solidly the whole way around. Jon just played better.”
After Utley closed to within one of Hurst after nine holes, the central Virginian shot one over par on the inward half.
Known for his precise placement of shots, Hurst was rewarded on a course that demands accuracy. Hurst also negotiated the layout’s slick and undulating putting surfaces.
“I didn’t put myself in position to have a lot of makeable putts today, but I rolled the ball really well,” Hurst said. “I made a lot of good lag putts today, so that kept me in it.”
Fellow-competitors know Hurst as one of the top players in the commonwealth. He won last year’s VSGA Public Links title and it seemed only a matter of time before he picked up his first VSGA ‘major’ (regarded as a victory in the VSGA Four-Ball, VSGA Amateur, the State Open of Virginia or the Mid-Amateur).
“This is a pretty strong field—one of the stronger ones of the year. It’s good to beat these guys—once,” Hurst said with a smile. “I had a lot of fun today. I come out here to have fun, so if I don’t, I haven’t done what I wanted to do.”
Players have taken note of Hurst’s stellar play, especially this season. His victory moved him to third among points’ leaders in the VSGA player rankings.
“He’s the hottest player in the state right now,” said Keith Decker, a record seven-time winner of the VSGA Mid-Amateur.
POWHATAN –– Results following the final round of the 37th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at The Foundry Golf Club (6,901 yards, par 36-36—72) on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Jon Hurst (Fredericksburg), 70-68-71—209
Vincent Nadeau (Gordonsville), 72-70-69—211
Jordan Utley (Richmond), 71-72-70—213
Scott Shingler (Haymarket), 68-75-71—214
John Rosenstock (Midlothian), 74-72-72—218
Matt Chandler (Hardy), 77-70-71—218
Ben Campbell (Cleveland), 67-74-77—218
Keith Decker (Martinsville), 75-70-74—219
Brandon Cigna (Arlington), 69-73-77—219
Buck Brittain (Tazewell), 71-73-76—220|
Brandon LaCroix (Roanoke), 76-69-75—220
Jimmy Delp (Arlington), 76-71-74—221
Philip Mahone (Charlottesville), 70-79-72—221
Justin Young (Roanoke), 71-76-74—221
Ben Beach (Glen Allen), 75-71-75—221
Ben Keefer (Glen Allen), 73-70-79—222
David Partridge (Manakin), 73-73-77—223
Roger Newsom (Virginia Beach), 73-72-78—223
Al Bello III (Stafford), 75-72-76—223
James Hart (Moseley), 73-71-79—223
Matt Brantingham (Richmond), 73-76-75—224
Spence Andrews (Glen Allen), 78-72-74—224
Tony Good (Glen Allen), 82-69-74—225
Tom Grady (Marshall), 72-74-79—225
Brad Ferguson (Gordonsville), 73-78-75—226
Jay Fisher (Charlottesville), 77-73-76—226
Pete Toole (Glen Allen), 76-78-72—226
Matthew Gutowski (Midlothian), 72-73-83—228
Jay Serrao III (Virginia Beach), 75-79-75—229
Alex Perretz (Richmond), 74-80-76—230
Chris Tuttle (Virginia Beach), 80-77-74—231
Dan Hosek (Alexandria), 80-76-76—232
Lee Fisher (Lynchburg), 77-76-79—232
Matt Paciocco (Glen Allen), 78-77-77—232
Jay Livingston (Glen Allen), 78-79-76—233
Michael Hays (Virginia Beach), 78-74-81—233
Bob Rotella (Keswick), 82-75-76—233
Richard Wintsch (Richmond), 78-76-79—233
David Jordan (Glen Allen), 79-75-80—234
Gary Cicatiello (Providence Forge), 79-76-80—235
Adam Houck (Richmond), 76-81-80—237
Steve Serrao (Midlothian), 76-73-88—237
Rich Buckner (Centreville), 77-79-82—238
Gary Barton Jr. (Alexandria), 79-77-82—238
Tim Wehner (Richmond), 81-76-81—238
Steve Isaacs (Richmond), 78-78-83—239
Barry Wirt Jr. (Roanoke), 76-75-88—239
Cory McIntosh (Richmond), 80-77-89—246
John Kinder (Quinton), 77-79-WD