Virginia Golfer May / June 2015 - Page 25

always been the rock. Before my dad passed away, she traveled with me more than he did because working at the New River Junction campground in the summer kept him busy. “It was awesome walking off the 18th green and seeing a few tears in her eyes and giving her that big hug.” Mondy credited Utley for taking the match to the hilt. “I had a good lead after 18 and all credit to Jordan (for making a comeback),” Mondy says. “I don’t think I lost my lead, I think he took it from me. I mean he played extremely good golf. We both did.” Utley, 29, who played collegiately at the University of Richmond, says the afternoon rally against a former champion meant something to him. “I think Jake really, really wanted to stomp me on the throat and not give me a chance,” Utley says of his long-hitting opponent. “So playing well that afternoon was fantastic. “I just wish I had given myself a good look at birdie on the 36th hole to compound his up and down. Had I hit a good third shot [from 110 yards] and given myself a good look for birdie, it could have changed the dynamic a little bit. But because I didn’t hit a very good shot it allowed him to relax a little bit and he took advantage and made birdie.” Utley, the director of finance at Midlothian’s Independence Golf Club, had to birdie his final two holes in an 18-hole qualifier at Richmond’s Stonehenge Golf and Country Club simply to earn a spot in the field. “I had to work my butt off just to get in the championship,” Utley says. “I’m just waiting to get that one victory because it’s hard. Hopefully, I will get another opportunity.” ELITE COMPANY, LAST START The second VSGA Amateur title enabled Mondy to join a stellar list of players who have won two crowns since the turn of the century, a group that includes three-time champion Paolini and two-time victors Jay Woodson of Powhatan and current PGA Tour professional Billy Hurley. Win or lose at Farmington, Mondy says it’s almost a certainty it will be his final shot at a VSGA Amateur crown for the foreseeable future. He is entertaining strong hope of pursuing a professional career next summer. “This might possibly be my last State Am so it will be a little more special to me,” says Mondy, whose younger brother Ryan is a member of Virginia Tech’s golf team. “I’m working on my golf game a little bit and focusing on what’s ahead this summer for me and what’s ahead the summer after that before hopefully turning pro and seeing how it goes.” TOP RIGHT: SEAN PROCTOR/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT; FILE PHOTOS (2) Host Site Farmington to Provide Exacting Test Shot placement is paramount in order to play well at Farmington Country Club. Jake Mondy’s pair of VSGA Amateur titles have come on long bomber-type golf courses. If he is to claim his third victory in the event, he will have to get it done on a much shorter, traditional track at venerable Farmington Country Club this time. “I played in the Kenridge [Invitational] about two or three years ago; that’s the only time I’ve ever played there,” Mondy says. “I think I finished top 20, whatever that’s worth. “I do remember the course. It’s a very short golf course. I don’t remember hitting a lot of drivers so it’s the very opposite of Spring Creek last year and Bayville [in 2012], too. Both of those are long golf courses. w w w. v s g a . o r g 22_VSGA_050615.indd 23 Dreams coalesced into reality when Mondy made clutch putts to win the VSGA Amateur in 2012 with thoughts of his late father on his mind. Inset: After sealing a tough win last year, Mondy let go of his putter and looked toward the heavens in relief. No matter what happens down the road, Jake Mondy says he won’t ever forget his VSGA days. “I can’t tell you how much the VSGA has meant to me,” he says. “I’ve become really good friends with a bunch of guys there. It’s a first-class organization and to be part of the history now ... I mean, I’m not going there to defend my title. I’ve already won that title and they can’t take that away from me now. I’m going there trying to win another one. Those trophies mean a lot to me.” Author Randy King is a sportswriter for The Roanoke Times and a regular contributor to Virginia Golfer. “This is a target golf course. You have to position yourself in the right spot and be patient.” Last year’s runner-up, Jordan Utley, says Farmington, which measures a shade under 6,800 yards from the tips of the South (front) and North (back) nines, fits his game more suitably than Spring Creek. “Don’t get me wrong; there are still holes where length is a huge benefit but probably not as much. I like to move the ball right to left, hit a lot of different types of shots and Farmington allows that. “On paper, Farmington is a good fit for the true mid-amateur out there. It doesn’t rule out a shorter hitter or somebody who is maybe a little bit older. It’s a very equalizing golf course. It brings everybody back into play. All different types of players can play well at Farmington.” Rob McNamara, the longtime PGA professional and director of golf at Farmington, notes that the layout’s listed yardage is deceptive. “It’s a lot of golf course, I assure you,” says McNamara, who is in his 22nd year at Farmington. “As a par 70, it plays every bit of 7,000 yards. It’s such an illusion because in a lot of cases you’re hitting into hillsides so the ball doesn’t roll out much. It plays a lot longer than the yardage. “You have to drive it in play and hit it on the correct side of the hole because the party is just getting started once you get on the greens. They’re going to be a slick as we can get them.” McNamara then chuckled and duly noted: “When (the putting surfaces) are in top form you need to be careful walking on them for fear of sliding off them.” Farmington will be playing host to the VSGA Amateur for the first time since 1936, when Bobby Riegel beat fellow Richmonder Frank Sutton 4 and 3 in the final. “We’re glad to have it back,” McNamara says. “Farmington is such a great club and it’s right in the center of the commonwealth. Having worked here for so long, everybody who is an 剽