Suffolk course and players pass muster

Published 10:00pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Virginia State Golf Association and local golfers benefited from a trusted brand of quality at the Nansemond River Golf Club when it hosted the VSGA Senior Amateur and Senior Open of Virginia Qualifier on Monday.

“We’ve got some very strong players that came out of that qualifier that we expect to do well at their respective championships,” said Matt Smiley, VSGA Director of Rules and Competitions.

The qualifier was one of six around the state offering a joint opportunity through 18 holes of golf.

“You sign up for one round, you can get into two tournaments,” Smiley said.

Players could vie for qualification in one or both, while some already had earned an exemption into the VSGA Senior Amateur Championship.

On Monday, nine qualifying spots were available for the Senior Amateur, and five spots were up for grabs for the Senior Open of Virginia.

Two Suffolk golfers, Marshall Fleming and George Riefler, nabbed spots for the Senior Amateur with respective ranks of fifth and ninth and scores of 73 and 74.

Suffolk’s J.P. Leigh shot a 73 to earn an alternate slot for the Senior Open of Virginia, giving him the opportunity to play should someone drop out.

Smiley said Nansemond River Golf Club was selected as a venue for a qualifier because “we’ve always a had a good relationship with Nansemond River and Mark Lambert and the rest of their staff.”

The course has been the host of previous VSGA events, and Smiley said, “We know it as a good, fair test of golf that the players are aware of.”

Nansemond River also easily surpasses a minimum yardage requirement, as courses need to be in the 6,200- to 6,300-yard range to host a VSGA qualifier.

Three golfers navigated the course well to earn spots for both tournaments: Billy Jahn and Steve Hall with scores of 70 apiece and Eric Neidermeyer with a score of 72.

Suffolk’s Marshall Fleming was quite pleased with his performance.

“I had 14 really good holes of golf, and I had a couple of stupid holes, but first six holes I played great,” he said. “I was 4-under par through six.”

He said he was particularly thrilled to qualify for the Senior Amateur because an expansion in the eligible age range has made it increasingly difficult. Formerly, eligible qualifiers had to be 55 and older, but now it has been revised to 50 and older.

“The guys between 50 and 55 are, for the most part, hitting it longer than the older guys,” Fleming said. “It just makes it harder to compete.”

The VSGA Senior Amateur Championship will take place Aug. 26-30 at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville. The Senior Open of Virginia, also for 50 and older players, will occur Sept. 26-27 at The Country Club of Virginia’s Westhampton Course in Richmond.

Following are the results from Monday’s VSGA Senior Amateur and Senior Open of Virginia Qualifier at Nansemond River Golf Club:

Qualifiers for the VSGA Senior Amateur Championship (nine qualifying spots available)

Tied for first

Billy Jahn (Virginia Beach), 36-34—70 and Steve Hall (White Stone), 37-33—70

Third

Shawn Henry (Virginia Beach), 36-35—71

Fourth

Eric Neidermeyer (Hampton), 37-35—72

Tied for fifth

Marshall Fleming (Suffolk), 33-40—73, Bob Bailey (Yorktown), 35-38—73, Ralph Knapp (Virginia Beach), 35-38—73 and Larry Giles (Williamsburg), 36-37—73

Ninth

George Riefler (Suffolk), 35-39—74

Alternates

Jay Hehn (Hampton), 38-36—74; George Owens (Virginia Beach), 39-36—75; Michael Ancel (Newport News), 37-38—75.

Qualifiers for the Senior Open of Virginia (five qualifying spots available)

Tied for first

Billy Jahn (Virginia Beach), 36-34—70; Steve Hall (White Stone), 37-33—70; Jeff Fleishman (Williamsburg), 34-36—70; and Jeff Flax (Virginia Beach), 35-35—70

Fifth

Eric Neidermeyer (Hampton), 37-35—72

Alternates

J.P. Leigh (Suffolk), 36-37—73; Dave Pulk (Williamsburg), 35-38—73; Bob Bailey (Yorktown), 35-38—73.

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