Mon­tague back to de­fend RGA Am­a­teur crown

Tour­na­ment hasn’t had re­peat win­ner since 2011-12

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - GOLF - BY AN­DREW BLAIR

The 93rd edi­tion of the Rich­mond Golf As­so­ci­a­tion Am­a­teur cham­pi­onship will be­gin at The Do­min­ion Club in Hen­rico County on Thurs­day.

Last year’s tour­na­ment fea­tured some his­tory as teenager Jack Mon­tague, then a ris­ing se­nior at Col­le­giate, beat St. Christo­pher’s se­nior Drew Brock­well for his first vic­tory in the event.

Mon­tague, who is headed to the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia in the fall, is back to de­fend his ti­tle this year and will be the top seed for match play by virtue of his tri­umph last year. Brock­well, who is go­ing to Vir­ginia Tech in the fall, also is in the field.

Mon­tague will be try­ing to be­come the first player to claim back-to­back ti­tles since Nick Austin posted vic­to­ries in 2011-12.

“I’m ex­cited to come back and try to de­fend this week,” said Mon­tague, who grad­u­ated from Col­le­giate in May. “There are a lot of great play­ers in the field and I look for­ward to the chal­lenge. I feel as though my game is start­ing to get into pretty good shape.”

Who­ever wins will have to deal with the en­durance-test for­mat of the event. Fol­low­ing the 18-hole stroke­play qual­i­fy­ing round on Thurs­day, the low 32 scor­ers will be placed in the cham­pi­onship flights. Match play fol­lows with two matches a day on Fri­day and Satur­day, con­clud­ing with the sched­uled 18-hole fi­nal on Sun­day.

Though there are plenty of young play­ers in the field, mi­da­ma­teurs (age 25 and older) are well-rep­re­sented and head­lined, in part, by Mid­loth­ian res­i­dents Steve Serrao and Jor­dan Ut­ley, as well as Rich­mon­ders Alex Sleeker and Kevin South

and Glen Allen’s Rusty Bree­den, among others.

The Do­min­ion Club, which hosted the RGA Am­a­teur in 2002 and has wel­comed other RGA events since then, is a good course for match play. The lay­out fea­tures a host of risk-re­ward el­e­ments, in­clud­ing at the par-5 fin­ish­ing hole. It’s reach­able in two, but wa­ter guards the right side of the hole, ready to en­snare a way­ward shot.

The list of past cham­pi­ons reads like a who’s who of cen­tral Vir­ginia golf and in­cludes for­mer winners turned PGA Tour play­ers Robert Wrenn (three City Am­a­teur vic­to­ries), as well as the brother com­bi­na­tion of Bobby and Lanny Wad­kins. Lanny, a three­time win­ner of the City Am­a­teur, also is part of the World Golf and Vir­ginia Golf halls of fame. Nel­son Broach won the tour­na­ment a record 11 times dur­ing a four-decade span be­tween 1947 and 1974. Nine of his vic­to­ries came be­tween 1953 and 1966.

JOE MA­HONEY/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Jack Mon­tague de­feated Drew Brock­well in last year’s RGA Am­a­teur cham­pi­onship. Mon­tague grad­u­ated from Col­le­giate in May and is headed to the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia in the fall.

JOE MA­HONEY/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Jack Mon­tague (left), who ac­cepted last year’s cham­pi­onship tro­phy from the RGA’s Greg Bales, knows the field again will be a chal­lenge in this year’s tour­ney at The Do­min­ion Club.

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