Longwood soph owns 4-shot lead over Birdwood member heading into Jefferson Cup finals Sunday

By Jerry Ratcliffe


(© Kevin Carden – stock.adobe.com)

The Jefferson Cup Championship at Birdwood has turned into a two-man race heading into Sunday morning’s final round.

Justin Larue, a sophomore on Longwood’s golf team, is attempting to go wire-to-wire after stringing together back-to-back, 1-under par 70 scores at the Davis Love-designed course. Larue, who plays out of Highlands Golf Club in Chesterfield, owns a four-shot lead over Birdwood member Jack Bruns, who fired Saturday’s lowest round in the field with a 3-under 68. Bruns has gone 76-68 and rests at 144.

The closest to the two contenders was Eugene Hong out of Poplar Grove in Amherst, who is 13 shots behind leader Larue. You can find complete scores of all divisions appearing at the end of this article.

It has been a long time since Larue sat on the lead heading into the final round, but he believes he’s fit for the challenge.

“I think I should be able to manage it,” Larue said after putting together a round that included only one bogey. “I know I’m playing good golf. I’m confident, so I think I should be able to come back out [Sunday] and hopefully get a win here.”

After finishing his opening round Friday, Larue said his game had improved following his first college season because he had started to invest more time and more work, and his ball-striking over the past 36 holes was evidence. He had one bogey Saturday and a double-bogey on Friday, but otherwise has been solid.

“I’m just going to keep playing like I did the past two days for the last round and maybe get a little more aggressive,” Larue said.

That is, if the course allows him to utilize that mindset. Many of the pins the past two days have been in difficult places to reach, so the leader said he is focusing on trying to place his approach shots to the middle of the green.

“I’ll be aggressive when I can and if I’m not feeling that it’s safe to be aggressive, just try to not take myself out of the hole too early,” Larue said. “If it’s too hard, just play safe on where I can miss, and making sure if I do miss, it’s on the right side instead of somewhere that can hurt me.”

His long bogey came at No. 14 when he was short of the green on his approach and short-sided himself, making it a difficult up-and-down. However, he made up for it on No. 15, which he birdied for the second day in a row.

Meanwhile, Bruns is hoping he can apply some pressure early on the leader and make it a showdown for the Jefferson Cup.

He fired a 33 on the back nine Saturday – with birdies on three of his last six holes – for the lowest round of the tournament at 3-under 68. 

“It could have easily been a 31 or 32, so I’m going to stick with the same game plan going into Sunday,” Bruns said. “It would be nice to grab a birdie early, especially being down four shots, but I’m not going to press. A little momentum would be good, though.”

Bruns, who has home-course knowledge, is excited for the opportunity to give Larue a match for the title.

“I haven’t been at the top of the leaderboard since high school (2019), so it’s going to be important to have those feelings again,” Bruns said. “I think there’s a lot of birdie holes and a lot of hard holes, plus four par-5s that are all pretty gettable.”

Bruns only suffered one bogey in his under-par round, so he feels confident that he can put up another red number and see what happens.

Larue, Bruns and Hong will all be playing in the final group of the day, teeing off at 11:06 a.m.

Meanwhile, Roger Newsom, who has put together consecutive rounds of even par, holds a three-shot lead over Scott Garrison in the Senior Division. Jim Woodson is running away with the Super Senior Division (age 65 and over) with a nine-shot lead over Jack Barber.

Boar’s Head Resort Jefferson Cup
Birdwood Golf Course (Par 71)
Round 2 Leaderboard
Championship Division
1. Justin Larue 70-70–140
2. Jackson Bruns 76-68–144
3. Eugene Hong 72-81–153
4. John Welsh 80-75–155
5. AJ Stouffer 78-78–156
6. Dan Snyder 77-84–161
7. Gray Wiley 82-80–162
8. Jim Wise 80-84–164
9. Jeff Kamrath 87-79–166
10. Evan McNally 87-83–170
11. Brock Lascara 86-91–177
12. Minh Huynh 94-100–194

Senior Division (50-64 yrs)
1. Roger Newsom 71-71–142
2. Scott Garrison 72-73–145
3. Steve DeMasters 71-78–149
4. Scott Richards 77-74–151
4. Greg Bales 72-79–151
6. John Williams 76-76–152
7. Nathan Beck 77-76–153
8. Moe Barros 82-76–158
9. Brent Kaczmarek 77-83–160
10. Eric Parlet 77-84–161
11. Ed Early 85-83–168
12. Steve Castro 85-85–170
12. Tom Elliott 89-81–170
14. Stuart Morse 87-84–171
14. Blair Engle 85-86–171
16. Inoch Arnette 84-88–172
16. Jason Wombacher 86-86–172
18. Phillip Seay 88-85–173
19. Scott Harper 89-92–181
20. Skip Platt 86-105–191

Super Senior Division (65 and older)
1. Jim Woodson 77-73–150
2. Jack Barber 77-82–159
3. Joe Coates 77-88–165
4. Donald Meyer 82-85–167
4. Richard Prins 86-81–167
6. Koti Mannem 88-86–174
7. Terry Dean 98-80–178
8. Jerry Dixon 98-100–198