Longwood golfer Larue finishes strong to hold Jefferson Cup first-round lead

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Birdwood Golf Course at Boar’s Head Resort

Photo: Birdwood Golf Course at Boar’s Head Resort

An hour-long storm delay didn’t frazzle Justin Larue during the opening round of the Jefferson Cup golf championship at the Boar’s Head Birdwood Golf Course on Friday.

Larue, a sophomore on Longwood’s golf team, was actually staring down a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-4, 15th hole when play was stopped because of nearby lightning. The Chesterfield resident hit his 240-yard, 7-iron approach shot to within 15 feet. Just as he was lining up his putt, the horn sounded.

Larue was 1-over at the time, but the delay actually helped him finish strong. While he missed the eagle putt, he made birdie, then followed with another birdie at 16 and parred his way in for a 1-under par 70.

Those back-to-back birdies helped him post the only under-par round of the day in the championship division of the three-day event.

Larue’s opening round was only one stroke more than Dustin Groves’ first round last season when Groves posted a 69, then finished 13-under par to win the tournament by a whopping 18 strokes.

“It was pretty much smooth sailing for me,” Larue said. “I only made one big mistake, a double on No. 6 (par 4) when I hit my ball in a hazard behind a rock, barely got out.”

Larue holds a two-shot lead over Eugene Hong (see complete list of scores at the end of the story), who finished 1-over, while Jackson Bruns finished with a 76, followed by Dan Snyder’s 77 and AJ Stouffer’s 77.

In the senior division (age 50-64), Roger Newsome and Steve DeMasters are tied at even-par 71, with Scott Garrison and Greg Bales trailing by a stroke. In the super seniors (65 and over), Jack Barber, Jim Woodson and Jim Coates are all deadlocked in first place at 77.

For Larue, though, Friday’s play was refreshing for his golf career. After not playing up to his expectations the past two seasons, he has started to turn his game around. He made the cut in the Virginia State Open and played decently in the State Am, although he missed match play.

“Those were a boost in confidence and since the college season ended, I’ve been working a lot harder on my game,” Larue said.

His strategy for Saturday’s second round, perhaps with Birdwood’s greens softening due to some rain, is to play more aggressively and fire at the pins in hopes of making more birdies.

Boar’s Head Resort Jefferson Cup
Birdwood Golf Course
Round 1 Leaderboard
Championship Division
1. Justin Larue (-1) – 70
2. Eugene Hong (+1) – 72
3. Jackson Bruns (+5) – 76
4. Dan Snyder (+6) – 77
5. AJ Stouffer (+7) – 78
6. Jim Wise (+9) – 80
6. John Welsh (+9) – 80
8. Gray Wiley (+11) – 82
9. Brock Lascara (+15) – 86
10. Jeff Kamrath (+16) – 87
10. Evan McNally (+16) – 87
12. Minh Huynh (+23) – 94
WD Jonathan Stevens – WD
WD Liam Powderly – WD

Senior Division (50-64 yrs)
1. Roger Newsom (E) – 71
1. Steve DeMasters (E) – 71
3. Scott Garrison (+1) – 72
3. Greg Bales (+1) – 72
5. John Williams (+5) – 76
6. Nathan Beck (+6) – 77
6. Brent Kaczmarek (+6) – 77
6. Eric Parlet (+6) – 77
6. Scott Richards (+6) – 77
10. Moe Barros (+11) – 82
11. Inoch Arnette (+13) – 84
12. Ed Early (+14) – 85
12. Blair Engle (+14) – 85
12. Steve Castro (+14) – 85
15. Jason Wombacher (+15) – 86
15. Skip Platt (+15) – 86
17. Stuart Morse (+16) – 87
18. Phillip Seay (+17) – 88
19. Tom Elliott (+18) – 89
19. Scott Harper (+18) – 89

Super Senior Division (65 and older)
1. Jack Barber (+6) – 77
1. Jim Woodson (+6) – 77
1. Joe Coates (+6) – 77
4. Donald Meyer (+11) – 82
5. Richard Prins (+15) – 86
6. Koti Mannem (+17) – 88
7. Jerry Dixon (+27) – 98
7. Terry Dean (+27) – 98

 

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