Suffolk men knocked out of tourney

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, August 30, 2012

The first round of match play wound up the end of the road for two Suffolk golfers participating in the 65thVirginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship at Cedar Point Country Club on Thursday.

Suffolk golfers J.P. Leigh and Marshall Fleming were unable to progress past the morning round of match play after having qualified for the tournament earlier this week in stroke play.

Suffolk's Marshall Fleming competes on Thursday during the 65th Virginia State Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship at Cedar Point Country Club.

The second round of stroke play qualifying had been cancelled due to torrential rainfall on Tuesday and the resulting wet course conditions on Wednesday. As a result, the 18-hole qualifying scores from stroke play were used to narrow the field down to 32 players for match play.

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Fleming and Leigh qualified for the first round of the tournament with scores of 72 and 74, respectively.

Both fell in Thursday’s early round, though.

For Leigh, the result was particularly disappointing. He was playing against George Kapetanakis of McLean, who qualified with a 71. Leigh had been holding a significant lead on the day.

“I was four up with about six to go,” Leigh said. “He won five of the last six.”

Kapetanakis birdied three of those final holes. Leigh had been 4-under for the day and was pleased with his performance going into the 18th hole.

“I doubled the last hole, though, that was bad,” he said. “Gave him the last hole.”

Fleming, who had been seeded 10th in the tournament lost 5-and-3 to 23rd-seed Tim Kelley of Ashland. Kepetanakis, who had been seeded seventh, went 1-up against the 26th-seeded Leigh.

Top-seeded Tom Grady and three former event champions advanced to Friday morning’s quarterfinals.

In addition to the co-medalist Grady, reigning champion David Partridge of Manakin, as well as past winners Mike McDonald of Williamsburg (2009) and Richmond’s John Cuomo (2004) all advanced to the round of eight.

The 63-year-old Grady rolled to a morning victory and then won two of the final three holes in a round of 16 match to outlast northern Virginian John Hoffman (Fairfax), 3-and-2.

Next up for Grady, the 2007 Senior Open of Virginia champion, is an encounter against event rookie Steve Williams, 56, of Fairfax, who outlasted central Virginian Leon Roday (Henrico), 3 and 2 after lunch.

In the other encounter in the top half of the bracket, former champions McDonald and Cuomo will meet. Both players notched 19-hole victories in the round of 16. McDonald bested fourth-seeded Alvin Wall in a match in which neither player held more than a 1-up advantage, while Cuomo made birdie on the first extra hole, the par-4 first, to get past Jeff Flax of Virginia Beach.

Helping to highlight the bottom portion of the bracket are Partridge, the third low qualifier for match play, and Ashland’s Kelley, who have won or been a part of claiming the last four senior championships conducted by the VSGA dating back to 2011.

In addition to his Senior Amateur triumph a year ago, Partridge won the Senior Open of Virginia last September. Kelley and Partridge teamed to win this spring’s VSGA Senior Four-Ball Championship before Kelley went on to claim the VSGA Senior Stroke Play in mid-June.

In afternoon action on Thursday, Kelley registered a 2-and-1 win over Kapetanakis.