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Eight golfers remain in Hot Springs for the Amateur Championship and none is older than 22.
Friday, June 28, 2013
HOT SPRINGS — Buzz off, old guys. Out of here, gentlemen. Go home and mow the yard. Hey, the youngsters are in charge of running the rest of the party at the 100th VSGA Amateur Championship.
When the divots stopped flying Thursday at The Homestead’s Cascades Course, the original 132-player field chasing the state’s biggest amateur prize had been narrowed to eight players. All eight are age 22 and under.
The 90-year-old Cascades must be tired of the veteran s. The relatively short 6,667-yard mountain course, predicted by many to play to the more experienced , has only college players, just finished college players and high school players left.
Defending champion Jake Mondy of Blacksburg is among them . Mondy advanced with a pair of match play wins Thursday, including a 4-and-3 victory over former professional Justin Young of Roanoke.
“I’m surprised to be honest with you,” Mondy said. “I mean this is a golf course that if you hit it 220 [yards] off the tee you’re hitting from the same spot we’re hitting from. It levels the playing field to a certain extent. I guess maybe that just means that our games are pretty good right now that we can take down the experience, I don’t know.”
Mondy, 19, who just completed his redshirt freshman season at Auburn, has made quite a rebound from an opening round of 7-over-par 70 in Tuesday’s first round of stroke-play qualifying. He shot a 69 Wednesday to grab the 22nd seed in the 32-player match-play bracket. Mondy never trailed in his two matches Thursday, including a 2-and-1 first-round win over 11th seed Ben Beach of Glen Allen.
Young, 35, gave Mondy some early help by giving away Nos. 2 and 4 with bogeys. Mondy birdied No. 8 to go 3-up. Young birdied No. 9 to close to 2-down before he bogeyed Nos. 11 and 13 to allow Mondy to take a commanding 4-up edge.
Counting his five matches during his run to last year’s title at Bayville Golf Club in Virginia Beach, Mondy has won seven matches in the event. He needs to win three more to become the ninth player to repeat crowns.
“I try not to think about, but it’s hard to keep it out of your mind. You play against your opponent to a certain extent, but if I do enough good things, we’ll see what happens,” said Mondy, who faces recent William & Mary graduate Jeremy Wells, 22, of Hopewell in this morning’s 8:30 quarterfinals.
Should he win this morning, Mondy would face the winner of the quarterfinal match between rising Virginia Tech senior Bryce Chalkley (Richmond) and Ji-Soo Park (Clifton), a rising junior at Virginia in this afternoon’s semifinals.
Zachary Bauchou of Forest, who at 17 is the youngest of the young bunch left, never trailed in winning two matches, including a second-round 3-and-2 triumph over Conner Hayden (Chilhowie), a rising sophomore at Radford. Bauchou, the co-qualifying medalist with Chalkley, faces three-time champion and recent Duke grad Brinson Paolini this morning.
“I definitely know who Brinson is,” a grinning Bauchou said. “It’s going to come down to making swings and I feel like if I can make good swings, I’m going to be tough to beat.”
Paolini seems ready for the kid. The Virginia Beach native hasn’t had a three-putt in 63 holes this week on the Cascades’ swooping greens.
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