Chandler Wins VSGA Mid Amateur Title

      From the VSGA:

      SALEM - Roanoke Valley area golfer Matt Chandler fired a final round even-par 71 to post a wire-to-wire three-stroke victory as the 36th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship concluded today at Hidden Valley Country Club.

      The 30-year-old Hardy resident finished the event with a 13-under 200 aggregate. Fueled by a first round 61 on Friday, a single-round event record by an amateur in a VSGA stroke-play competition, Chandler eclipsed the championship's all-time best 54-hole aggregate of 204 set in 1994 by Bill Williard of Virginia Beach.

      Chandler, a former mini-tour player, picked up his first victory in a VSGA championship since being reinstated to amateur status in October 2011.

      "Anytime you get a win, especially in a tournament like this, it feels good," said Chandler, who captured the Roanoke Valley Hall of Fame Match Play Championship earlier this summer. "Luckily, the 61 gave me a good cushion, and I was fortunate to come out ahead."

      Fellow local and friend Justin Young, 34, of Roanoke closed with 1-over 72 and placed second (10-under 203). Haymarket's Scott Shingler, the 2010 champion, closed with 4-under 67 to match the low round of the day and finished tied for third with Arlington's Jimmy Delp (69) at 6-under 207.

      After Chandler had 61 in Friday's first round, and Young carded 63 in his own right the same day, both competitors separated themselves from the rest of the field. They each returned 68 in the second round, basically turning the competition into a two-player race.

      Chandler, owner of a two-stroke lead entering Sunday's final round, saw his margin whittled to a single stroke after Young shot two under on the outward half. With the event essentially taking on a match-play aura, Chandler hit par-5 12th hole in two shots to set up an eventual birdie and he moved two ahead at 15 under. Young countered at the short par-4 13th, making birdie from close range feet to close to within one.

      But for all the red numbers both players put up throughout the event, some steady play on the second nine helped Chandler to victory. At the par-3 16th, Chandler holed a 12-footer for par, while Young just misfired on his 10-footer. Young then made double bogey one hole later after hooking his tee shot into the woods on the left and shot three over on the inward half. Still, his total would've been good enough to win any other year.

      "It was a good week - just not as good as Matt's," Young said. "We were neck and neck pretty much the whole way until the end. If I was going to lose to anyone, I would want for it to be Matt."

      Chandler kept making pars late on the second nine from Nos. 13-16 and opened his lead to four strokes with two holes to play. His two closing bogeys would matter little; playing two demanding holes in Nos. 14 and 15 in even par were important in claiming victory.

      "Those are two tough holes where things can go either way on you," Chandler said. "I played those holes well all three days."

      Chandler also put his name in the VSGA record books on Friday and followed it up by registering seven birdies over the final two rounds. His margin of victory was the most in the championship's history since 2004 when record seven-time event winner Keith Decker of Martinsville won by eight strokes at Boonsboro Country Club in Lynchburg.

      "My mindset was good all the way," said Chandler, who works as a contract salesperson in the Smith Mountain Lake area. "I tried not to think about the lead too much. I wasn't playing defensively and I wanted to go out and shoot a good number."

      SALEM -- Results following the final round of the 36th Virginia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at Hidden Valley Country Club (6,658 yards, par 35-36--71) on Sunday, Sept. 30.

      Matt Chandler (Hardy), 61-68-71--200

      Justin Young (Roanoke), 63-68-72--203

      Scott Shingler (Haymarket), 69-71-67--207

      Jimmy Delp (Arlington), 69-69-69--207

      Buck Brittain (Tazewell), 72-68-68--208

      Jeffrey Topp (Clifton), 70-70-70--210

      Scott Wise (Roanoke), 73-69-68--210

      Keith Decker (Martinsville), 70-67-75--212

      Jim Nirich (Catlett), 74-69-69--212

      Matt Wills (Fairfax), 72-71-69--212

      Jon Hurst (Fredericksburg), 73-68-71--212

      Nick Biesecker (Staunton), 70-75-67--212

      David Partridge (Manakin), 71-70-72--213

      Allen Barber (Yorktown), 74-70-70--214

      Col. James Gallagher (Ret.) (Yorktown), 75-69-71--215

      Lee Fisher (Lynchburg), 71-73-71--215

      Wes Smith (Virginia Beach), 72-69-74--215

      Jack Allara II (Salem), 73-72-71--216

      Donnie Hankins (Bristol), 73-71-72--216

      Spence Andrews (Glen Allen), 73-75-68--216

      Dan Hosek (Alexandria), 71-72-74--217

      Brandon LaCroix (Roanoke), 74-71-73--218

      Tim Kelley (Ashland), 71-74-73--218

      Eric Hooke (Hot Springs), 74-73-71--218

      Philip Mahone (Charlottesville), 72-74-72--218

      Mark Funderburke (Roanoke), 73-72-75--220

      John Newton (Roanoke), 73-74-73--220

      Drew Arney (Roanoke), 67-76-78--221

      Jeff Lynch (Roanoke), 78-72-73--223

      Danny Hopkins (Roanoke), 72-78-73--223

      Tom Grady (Marshall), 75-72-76--223

      David Schmidt (Wytheville), 77-74-72--223

      Bob Rotella (Keswick), 72-75-76--223

      Doug Henson (Roanoke), 80-71-73--224

      Keith Myers (Roanoke), 75-75-74--224

      Ken Knowles (Roanoke), 75-76-74--225

      Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Ridge), 79-73-73--225

      Barry Wirt Jr. (Roanoke), 72-79-75--226

      Chris Tuttle (Virginia Beach), 74-77-75--226

      Jason Robertson (Virginia Beach), 74-75-79--228

      Erik Ervin (Floyd), 77-76-77--230

      Matt Paciocco (Henrico), 75-77-79--231

      Adam Houck (Richmond), 73-80-78--231

      Steve Castro (Chantilly), 72-81-82--235

      Jeff Fiebelkorn (Midlothian), 79-74-90--243

      Mike McCool (Abingdon), 75-74-WD