Glen Allen’s Cameron Moore, a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech, and Richmond’s Clifford Foster, who is set to begin his second year at VCU, each finished with rounds of 4-under par 68 on Monday to share the lead after the first round of the 106th Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship at Keswick Golf Club’s Full Cry Course.
Moore and Foster hold a two-stroke lead over Fairfax’s Greg Pappas and Fairfax Station’s David Rabil heading into Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying.
After Tuesday’s round of stroke play, the top 32 players will advance to match play, which begins Wednesday morning.
Moore was 2 over through four holes Monday before turning his round with a birdie on No. 5. He made birdie again on No. 8 and made the turn at even par. Another birdie on the par-3 11th started a run of four birdies in five holes.
“I kind of got in a groove,” Moore said. “I chipped in on 11, and that got me going. I had two more birdies directly after that. I just got in the zone and kept charging.” Both Moore and Foster are eyeing their first appearance in match play at the VSGA Amateur. Moore came close to advancing last year, losing out in a playoff at The Federal Club.
“I’ve learned a lot from the last two years, coming close and not quite getting there,” Moore said. “I just tried to stay focused today.”
Most of the day’s low scores came in the morning session. The 90-degree heat stifled players in the afternoon, and a sudden 15-minute windstorm wreaked havoc with some players late in the second session. Connor Messick said the wind became a big factor on No. 16 green, so much so that players had to back off putts several times to make sure balls didn’t move during the actual putting stroke.
“Putting on 16 was really tough,” Messick said. “I stepped off twice, and one of my playing partners had to step off like six or seven times.”
Messick, an International Country Club member who played three years at the University of Virginia before transferring to George Mason as a graduate student, was one of seven players tied for fifth after returning 1-under 71s.
“I’ve played this course probably 60 times, so I kind of knew where to hit it and where not to,” he said. “I just kind of took advantage of some of the shorter holes and some of the longer ones were downwind on the back nine.”
Others in that group at 71 included Fairfax’s George Duangmanee, Richmond’s Adam Houck, Fairfax’s Milan Matneja, Alexandria’s Jimmy Taylor, Alexandria’s Teddy Zinsner and Tazewell’s Buck Brittain.
Brittain, the winner of the last two Senior Opens of Virginia, is one of nine from the 50-and-over set in the field.
“I hit the ball pretty well and just tried to stay patient,” Brittain said. “I played well, and I’m sort of tickled.”
Charlottesville’s Kyle Bailey is four strokes back after shooting a 72. Scottsville’s David Passerell shot a 73, Gordonsville’s Bruce Stouffer fired a 75 and three Charlottesville golfers — Dustin Groves, J.R. Hadley and Sam McNamara — each shot a 76.