Berry, Lawrence Jr. lead the field into match play at VSGA Amateur

By Chris Lang, Virginia State Golf Association

GREAT FALLS — Mark Lawrence Jr. has seen both sides of the match-play spectrum at the Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship. He scraped into the 32-player field via playoff in 2017 and won the title as the No. 32 seed. A year later, he was the top seed and stroke-play medalist at The Federal Club and lost in the round of 16.

Lawrence, who won the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia last month, shared medalist honors at the 107th playing of the event with Brandon Berry, as both shot two-day aggregate totals of 9-under-par 133 at River Bend Club. Certainly, the distinction holds a little extra meaning for Berry, who lives about a mile from the course and is a River Bend member. Both understand seeding can be fairly inconsequential once the Amateur shifts from stroke to match play.

“I’ve been playing some really good golf the last couple of months, and I really haven’t had much to play in,” said Berry, who plays for Loyola University in Baltimore. “It’s nice to see the hard work pay off in some events. But it really doesn’t matter now, whether I’m the No. 1 or the No. 2 seed, it’s a completely new tournament tomorrow.”

The top seed went to Lawrence, who will open round-of-32 play at 7:30 a.m. Thursday against No. 32 seed Parker See of Staunton, part of a group that survived a nine-for-eight playoff for the final spots in the field. Berry will face Purcellville’s Alex Price at 8:42 a.m. Winners in Thursday’s morning action will advance to the round of 16, set to begin after lunch.

The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday, and the 36-hole championship match is slated for Saturday morning.

Lawrence closed his second qualifying round with three straight birdies to return a second-round 66 and move into a tie atop the leaderboard.

“I think this is going to be a really good course for match play, it’s a lot of fun,” said Lawrence, who in addition to winning the Amateur in 2017 reached the final in 2015. “There are some shots you be can be a little extra aggressive on when it comes to match play. It’ll definitely change the way I think everyone approaches the golf course.”

Alexandria’s Teddy Zinsner, who plays at Yale, shot a 4-under 67 Wednesday to finish third at 136. He’ll open match play against Richmond’s Charlie Kennedy. Three players tied for fourth at 137 — Martinsville’s Blake Carter, Vienna’s David Stanford and Salem’s Justin Young. Tappahannock’s Carter Morgan and Roanoke’s Ross Funderburke tied for seventh at 138.

Carter, a former Longwood University standout, returned to the Amateur after a long layoff and advanced to match play for the first time. He’ll begin his quest for the title as the No. 4 seed Thursday against Ryan Patrick of Reston.

“Match play, I love it,” Carter said. “I think it’s the best kind of golf in the world. You can make a 10 (on one hole) and make a 2 (on another), and you’re all square, instead of 6 over. I really enjoy that. I like to hit a lot of drivers anyway, so that really won’t change for me in match play. But I think it’s probably the most pure form of golf, just you against a guy, and that’s it. And I love it.”

Funderburke, a rising sophomore at Furman University, is also making his Amateur match-play debut. He draws Virginia Tech’s Connor Johnson Jr. in the round of 32.

“In the years prior, I kept getting better and better,” Funderburke said. “I missed it by one last year. I was joking with my mom that when I came to this tournament, I’d be on the cut line and miss it in a playoff. So, yeah, it feels great.

“I hit 16 greens Monday and I shot 71,” Funderburke added. “I hit eight or nine today and shot 67. The course was definitely playing tougher. I had to get up and down from everywhere.”

Among those who advanced to match play were mid-amateurs Mike Muehr of McLean, Tyler Gulliksen of Dunn Loring and Frank Alafoginis of Sterling.

Both Muehr — a former PGA Tour player and three-time champion of the prestigious Crump Cup — and Alafoginis are members at nearby Trump National Golf Club. Alafoginis reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2018 and will meet Roanoke’s Vince Wheeler in the round of 32.

“It’s interesting, I just started playing tournament golf again the last couple of years,” Alafoginis said. “I don’t normally play that much, but this year, with COVID, I guess 95 percent of the things have been negative. But golf has been one of the things I can do. We’re not that busy, business-wise. The gym has been closed. There’s nothing else to do. So I’ve been playing more golf this year, and it’s been nice.”

Other intriguing first-round matchups include a meeting between Richmond Spiders past (Jordan Utley) and present (Ben Cooper). The survivor faces the winner of the Lawrence-See match, and the potential is there for another meeting between Lawrence and Utley in the round of 16. The pair squared off in the Amateur final in 2017 and the quarterfinals in 2014.

In another intra-school matchup, current Virginia Tech player Drew Brockwell will face off against Stanford, who has verbally committed to play for the Hokies.

Two-time State Open champion Evan Beck advanced to match play and will face Alexandria’s Matthew Cocorikis, and Stanardsville’s Mikey Moyers—a three-time VSGA Junior Match Play champion and twotime State Open runner-up—will meet Leesburg mid-amateur Brian Agee.

Richmond’s Andrew Kennedy, an Amateur finalist in 2018, draws Alexandria’s Jimmy Taylor, who plays at William and Mary, in the
round of 32.

107th VSGA Amateur Championship
At River Bend Club, Great Falls
Par 71, 6,917 yards
Wednesday’s second-round scores
Brandon Berry (Great Falls), 66-67–133
Mark Lawrence Jr (Richmond), 67-66–133
Teddy Zinsner (Alexandria), 69-67–136
Blake Carter (Martinsville), 69-68–137
David Stanford (Vienna), 69-68–137
Justin Young (Salem), 68-69–137
Ross Funderburke (Roanoke), 71-67–138
Carter Morgan (Tappahannock), 68-70–138
Tyler Gulliksen (Dunn Loring), 69-70–139
Mike Muehr (Mclean), 68-71–139
Isaac Simmons (Huddleston), 70-69–139
Jimmy Taylor (Alexandria), 70-69–139
Frank Alafoginis (Sterling), 71-69–140
Mikey Moyers (Stanardsville), 70-70–140
Brian Agee (Leesburg), 70-71–141
Evan Beck (Virginia Beach), 70-71–141
Matthew Cocorikis (Alexandria), 70-71–141
Ben Cooper (Richmond), 71-70–141
Bryce Corbett (Gainesville), 70-71–141
Jordan Utley (Midlothian), 71-70–141
Vince Wheeler (Roanoke), 70-71–141
Ryan Bishop (Midlothian), 71-71–142
Andrew Kennedy (Richmond), 71-71–142
Chris Lane (Great Falls), 72-70–142
Drew Brockwell (Chesterfield), 73-70–143
Dustin Groves (Charlottesville), 68-75–143
Connor Johnson (Richmond), 69-74–143
Charlie Kennedy (Richmond), 71-72–143
Ryan Patrick (Reston), 70-73–143
Alex Price (Purcellville), 73-70–143
Zack Russell (Charlottesville), 71-72–143
Parker See (Staunton), 73-70—143

Failed to advance
Harold Dill (Ashburn), 73-70–143
Sean Dougherty (Richmond), 71-73–144
Todd Eckstein (Christiansburg), 75-69–144
Lee Fisher (Lynchburg), 70-74–144
Jeffrey Long (Ashburn), 71-73–144
Cameron Moore (Glen Allen), 67-77–144
Suneil Peruvemba (mclean), 74-70–144
Christopher Zhang (Blacksburg), 75-69–144
Christopher McCartin (Falls Church), 74-71–145
Tim Pemberton (Williamsburg), 71-74–145
Mehrbaan Singh (Ashburn), 73-72–145
Matt Sughrue (Arlington), 68-77–145
Peter Gasperini (South Boston), 71-75–146
Matthew Monastero (Leesburg), 75-71–146
Jason Pool (Dunn Loring), 73-73–146
Ben Keefer (Glen Allen), 72-75–147
Jimmie Massie (Lynchburg), 72-75–147
Chase Nevins (Great Falls), 72-75–147
Rylan Shim (Centreville), 74-73–147
Nicholas Taliaferro (Midlothian), 72-75–147
Jacob Laughlin (Harrisonburg), 71-77–148
Mason McCoy (Virginia Beach), 74-74–148
Grant Miller (Richmond), 75-73–148
Hayden Miller (Leesburg), 71-77–148
Eli Thrasher (McLean), 74-74–148
Cam Barackman (Virginia Beach), 74-75–149
Preston Burton (Charlottesville), 75-74–149
Cullen Campbell (Virginia Beach), 76-73–149
Nathan Chuwait (Herndon), 77-72–149
Matthew Feinstein (McLean), 76-73–149
Ben Ramsey (Bluefield), 71-78–149
Scott Shingler (Haymarket), 74-75–149
Zachary Valdes (Chesterfield), 76-73–149
Kyle Bailey (Charlottesville), 77-73–150
Sebastien Bonte (Arlington), 75-75–150
Bryce Johnson (Oakton), 73-77–150
Alston Newsom (Chesapeake), 75-75–150
Nick Hogan (Henrico), 79-72–151
Brian Polinchock (Moseley), 72-79–151
Buck Brittain (Tazewell), 75-77–152
Reeve Felner (Vienna), 74-78–152
Ryan Hammer (Round Hill), 73-79–152
Adam Houck (Richmond), 75-77–152
Trey Marrion (Chesapeake), 74-78–152
Ted Dougherty (Mechanicsville), 76-77–153
Garrett Kuhla (Henrico), 75-78–153
Trey Treadwell (Haymarket), 72-81–153
Jimmy Delp (Alexandria), 75-79–154
Patrick Galleher (Midlothian), 79-75–154
Jeffrey Klatt (Manassas), 75-79–154
Colin Caporal (Gainesville), 80-76–156
Clark Xander Goboy (Chesapeake), 80-76–156
Angus Ricks (Arlington), 80-76–156
Steven Slocum (Springfield), 80-76–156
Kenny Gardner (Round Hill), 76-82–158
Andrew Withers (Roanoke), 79-80–159
Somsak Chivavibul (Potomac Falls), 81-79–160
Greg Pappas (Fairfax), 77-83–160
Jason Ennis (Stephenson), 86-81—167

Thursday’s Round of 32 matches
#1 Mark Lawrence Jr. (Richmond) vs. #32 Parker See (Staunton), 7:30 a.m.
#16 Jordan Utley (Midlothian) vs. #17 Ben Cooper (Richmond), 7:39 a.m.
#8 Ross Funderburke (Roanoke) vs. #25 Connor Johnson Jr. (Richmond), 7:48 a.m.
#9 Jimmy Taylor (Alexandria) vs. #24 Andrew Kennedy (Richmond), 7:57 a.m.
#4 Blake Carter (Martinsville) vs. #29 Ryan Patrick (Reston), 8:06 a.m.
#13 Frank Alofoginis (Sterling) vs. #20 Vince Wheeler (Roanoke), 8:15 a.m.
#5 Justin Young (Salem) vs. #28 Zack Russell (Charlottesville), 8:24 a.m.
#12 Tyler Gulliksen (Dunn Loring) vs. #21 Bryce Corbett (Gainesville), 8:33 a.m.
#2 Brandon Berry (Great Falls) vs. #31 Alex Price (Purcellville), 8:42 a.m.
#15 Matthew Cocorikis (Alexandria) vs. #18 Evan Beck (Virginia Beach), 8:51 a.m.
#7 Carter Morgan (Tappahannock) vs. #26 Dustin Groves (Charlottesville), 9 a.m.
#10 Mike Muehr (McLean) vs. #23 Chris Lane (Reston), 9:09 a.m.
#3 Teddy Zinsner (Alexandria) vs. #30 Charlie Kennedy (Richmond), 9:18 a.m.
#14 Mikey Moyers (Stanardsville) vs. #19 Brian Agee (Leesburg), 9:27 a.m.
#6 David Stanford (Vienna) vs. #27 Drew Brockwell (Chesterfield), 9:36 a.m.
#11 Isaac Simmons (Huddleston) vs. #22 Ryan Bishop (Midlothian), 9:45 a.m.

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