Become a Member
News, Men, Archives, Rules & Competitions, Event Media Hub

2023 VSGA Mid-Senior and Super Senior Amateurs

September 15, 2023

2023 VSGA Mid-Senior and Super Senior Amateurs

Championship website | Live scoring | Preview | Record book: Mid-Senior | Super Senior

Dates: Monday, September 18 - Wednesday, September 20

Format: Four age divisions: Mid-Senior (60+), Super Senior (65+, 70+, 75+). One round of stroke-play qualifying with the top 16 players advancing to match play (eight in the 75+ division). Round of 16 and quarterfinals on Tuesday. Semifinals and 18-hole championship matches on Wednesday.

Host site: Greene Hills Club

Day 3: Decker, Allara, Gardiner, Janicki win championships

(Pictured, clockwise from top left: Keith Decker, Jack Allara, Bob Gardiner, Ron Janicki. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

Photo gallery

STANARDSVILLE -- The 8th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Senior Amateur and 29th VSGA Super Senior Amateur Championships concluded on Wednesday at Greene Hills Club, with champions crowned in four different age divisions.

Virginia Golf Hall of Famer Keith Decker added to his record championship tally in the Mid-Senior Amateur, winning his fourth title in as many tries in the event and his 34th VSGA title overall.

In the Super Senior Amateur, Jack Allara (65+), Bob Gardiner (70+) and Ron Janicki (75+) all claimed championships in their respective age divisions.

MID-SENIOR AMATEUR: Decker def. Bob Bailey, 1 up

The emotions didn't hit Decker until he lined up for his lag putt from the fringe of the 18th green, knowing he only needed to nudge it close to the hole to secure his fourth straight title in the event. When it settled a foot from the cup and Bailey took off his hat to congratulate Decker on the victory, the moment sunk in.

Decker missed much of the 2022 season while caring for his wife Shelly, who was battling illness. Shelly encouraged Decker to venture to Meadowbrook Country Club in October to play in last year's Mid-Senior Amateur, knowing just how much golf has meant to Decker throughout his life and what kind of release it could be for him.

"It's emotional, because this was the last tournament my wife wanted me to play last year," Decker said, wiping away tears on Wednesday. "So I wanted this for her."

Shelly passed away in December 2022, and golf again has proved to be a cathartic healing catalyst for Decker, who donned one of Shelly's favorite hats from Farmington Country Club, as he has at several events this year. He dedicated Wednesday's win to Shelly's memory.

"It was (on his mind early in the week)," he said. "But once I got into match play, I knew I couldn't just dwell on that. It hit me on 18. After that putt was good, it hit me pretty hard then."

Bailey, part of the winning side at the 2019 VSGA Senior Four-Ball Championship, was a worthy opponent. Decker went 2-up after three holes, but Bailey tied the match by the 7th. Decker went up for good with a par on the 12th hole, and the pair tied each of the final six holes. On 18, Decker left his tee shot short and below the hole. Bailey was hole high but on the far left side of the green. He made a strong run at a birdie, but the ball scooted a few feet past, setting up Decker's clinching two-putt. Decker reached the final by ousting stroke-play medalist Paul Townsley 2 and 1 in the semifinals.

SUPER SENIOR 65+: Allara def. David Partridge, 2 and 1

Allara, a member at Hidden Valley Country Club, made history as the first player to ever three-peat in the Super Senior Amateur. He won his first title at Spotswood CC in 2021, added a second last year at Meadowbrook and claimed his third with a hard-fought victory over another Virginia Golf Hall of Famer in Partridge at Greene Hills Club.

"To three-peat is phenomenal," Allara said. "I didn't grow up playing golf. I had no college experience. I just kept at it. It's very, very satisfying, because David is just such a tremendous player. It was just my afternoon."

Allara sank a short downhill par putt on 17 to clinch his match against Partridge, letting out a huge fist pump to celebrate. He's battled several injuries this season, including a leg injury earlier this year suffered in a lawnmower accident and a dislocated thumb that will require surgery in November. Through it all, he's had a strong season. Along with his win Wednesday, he finished tied for second in the 65+ division at the VSGA Super Senior Stroke Play in July.

Allara had to survive a 24-hole match against David Pleasants in Tuesday's quarterfinals -- "I probably deserved to lose that one," Allara said -- before knocking off Skip Zobel 6 and 5 in the semifinals Wednesday morning. He never trailed against Partridge and broke a stalemate with an eagle on 11 to take the lead for good.

"We all know how good David is, and I can't hit it with him. He's 25 or 30 yards past me," Allara said. "But I out-putted him today. I can't hit it with him, but I can chip and putt pretty well."

SUPER SENIOR 70+: Gardiner def. Dayton Slater, 3 and 2

Gardiner, a member at South Riding Golf Club, made his mark early in each of his matches on Wednesday. In the semifinals against John Hoffman, he won holes 2 through 5 and built a 5-up lead by the turn. He replicated the feat in the championship match against Slater and rolled to an even larger lead, going 7 up through 10 holes.

"The first match, I birdied all four," Gardiner said. "Then in the second one, I birdied 2 and 3, and he three-putted 4 and 5. He just missed some short putts, and I was in cruise mode after that."

Slater, a past winner of the 65+ division at the Super Senior Amateur, didn't wilt easily, however. Slater regrouped to win 11. The players tied 12 before Slater ripped off wins on three straight holes to send the match to the 16th hole. Gardiner managed to hold it together and tie that hole with a par to close out the match.

"I was just trying to make him make birdies, and darn if he didn't," Gardiner said of his mindset after going 7 up. "He makes birdies on three of the next four holes. Then I shank one in the woods, and I'm like, oh boy. But I was able to settle it there on 16 with a par."

Gardiner spent his professional career working for  Fairfax County Public Schools in security and also spent time as the head golf coach at Herndon High School. He didn't play past the 16th hole in any of his matches this week.

"I'm a little surprised," he said. "I didn't expect to play this well. But I got off to fast starts in both matches and just kind of hung on."

SUPER SENIOR 75+: Janicki def. John Casstevens, 4 and 3

Janicki, a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam War, made his second appearance in a Super Senior championship match count. He lost to John Cuomo in the 70+ division in 2019 at Indian Creek Y&CC by the same score. He was able to reverse his fortunes on Wednesday against Casstevens, a past event champion who has also won several Super Senior Four-Ball titles.

"I drove the ball pretty good in all of my matches," said Janicki, who advanced by topping Michael Briggs 5 and 3 in a morning semifinal match. "And I got up and down a few times when it really mattered, when I missed greens."

Janicki led 2-up after three holes and never relinquished the advantage. He closed the match out on 15th when Casstevens conceded a short par putt.

Janicki is a member of the Veterans Golfers Association and has played in several of that organization's events this year, and he's represented the Marine Corps in the Armed Forces Cup in each of the last two playings of that event.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by VA State Golf Association (@vsga1904)

Day 2: Semifinals set in four age divisions

(Paul Townsley, the top seed in the Mid-Senior Amateur, won twice to advance to the semifinals. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

Photo gallery

STANARDSVILLE -- Three-time defending Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Senior Amateur champion Keith Decker and two-time defending VSGA Super Senior Amateur (65+ age division) winner Jack Allara were among the players to advance to the semifinals of their respective events on Tuesday at Greene Hills Club.

Decker (Chatmoss CC) is looking for his fourth title in as many tries in the Mid-Senior Amateur, which features players 60 and over. He secured comfortable wins over Evergreen CC's Randy Newsome (3 and 2) and Hunting Hawk GC's Lynn Jones (4 and 3) to advance to the semifinals, where he will face stroke-play qualifying medalist and top seed Paul Townsley of Sleepy Hole GC.

The Super Senior Amateur features three age divisions -- 65+, 70+ and 75+. Allara (Hidden Valley CC) handled Laurel Hill's Craig Lund 4 and 3 in the morning before surviving a dog fight with Mill Quarter Plantation's David Pleasants, winning on the 24th hole to advance. Allara will meet Skip Zobel, who defeated Dave Pulk in 20 holes, in the semifinals.

In the 70+ division, Dayton Slater (The Hollows GC) took out defending champion Van McCarter of Blue Hills GC 1 up in the quarterfinals.

The 75+ division will not have a repeat winner either, as past champion George Owens (Princess Anne CC) ousted 2022 champion Walter Anderson (Farmington CC) 1 up in the quarterfinals. He'll face John Casstevens (The Federal Club) in the semifinals. Owens and Casstevens have teamed up to win a pair of VSGA Super Senior Four-Ball titles.


  • The stroke-play qualifying medalist advanced to the semifinals in the Mid-Senior Amateur and the 65+ and 70+ divisions of the Super Senior Amateur. Townsley defeated Frank O'Hara (7 and 5) and Keith Myers (4 and 2) to set up a semifinal date with Decker. Allara was medalist in the 65+, while 70+ medalist John Hoffman (Laurel Hill GC) defeated Al Damico (2 and 1) and Mike Ancel (5 and 3) to earn his semifinal spot.
  • Terry Towler, the 75+ medalist, was the only one not to advance, falling in the quarterfinals to Michael Briggs, who will face Ronald Janicki in the semifinals.
  • Decker defeated Jones for the second straight year, having eliminated Jones in semifinals of last year's event. Townsley was a semifinalist last year but lost to Tom Mathews.
  • Bob Bailey and David Corliss will meet in the other Mid-Senior semifinal. Bailey topped Brian West (7 and 6) and David Sharpe (4 and 3) on Tuesday. Corliss defeated Greg Henderson (4 and 3) and Allen Barber (2 and 1).
  • The second semifinal in the 65+ division will feature a rematch of the 2015 VSGA Senior Amateur Championship, where David Partridge defeated George Riefler 2 up. Partridge earned his spot by defeating Mikeal Johnston (2 and 1) and Mark Funderburke (5 and 4). Riefler beat past Super Senior Amateur champion Tim Vigotsky in the round of 16 (1 up) before topping Jack Catlett (3 and 2) in the quarterfinals.
  • One Greene Hills member advanced to the semifinals -- Tim McGaughey in the 70+ division. He'll meet Slater in the semifinals. McGaughey topped fellow Greene Hills member Zed French in the first round (6 and 5) before defeating Hermitage's Don Evans 6 and 4 in the quarterfinals.
  • Play begins on Wednesday morning with the semifinals of the 75+ division at 8:30, followed by the 70+, 65+, and Mid-Senior. The same schedule will be followed for the afternoon championship matches.

Day 1: Stroke-play qualifying

STANARDSVILLE -- Two-time defending Virginia State Golf Association Super Senior Amateur (65+) champion Jack Allara posted the round of the day on Monday at Greene Hills Club, a 4-under 67 that earned him stroke-play qualifying medalist honors in the 65+ division of the 29th playing of the event.

Allara (Hidden Valley CC) was 1-over through five holes after a bogey on the par-4 5th, but he rallied with consecutive birdies to get into red figures and never looked back. He added birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 16 to finish one stroke clear of Tim Vigotsky (Robert Trent Jones GC). Mark Funderburke (The Waterfront CC) also finished in red numbers after posting a 2-under 69.

Laurel Hill GC's John Hoffman was the lone player in the 70+ division to post an under-par round, his 1-under 70 allowing him to finish three strokes clear of defending champion Van McCarter (Blue HIlls GC) and Tim McGaughey (Greene Hills Club).

In the 75+ division, Terry Towler earned medalist honors with a 4-over 75, one shot better than Princess Anne CC's George Owens.

In the 8th VSGA Mid-Senior Amateur (for players ages 60 and older), Sleepy Hole GC's Paul Townsley was the medalist after returning a 1-under 70, a shot better than Blue Ridge Shadows GC's David Sharpe. Three-time Mid-Senior winner Keith Decker shot a 1-over 72 to tie for third.

Sixteen players each advanced to match play in the Mid-Senior Amateur and the 65+ and 70+ divisions of the Super Senior Amateur. Eight players advanced in the 75+. Match play begins on Tuesday morning with the round of 16 in Mid-Senior, 65+ and 70+ divisions, and quarterfinal play in the 75+ division. The quarterfinals in the other three divisions are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.