Lorton’s Laurel Hill Golf Club hosted the Virginia Public Links Championship Aug. 28-31. A field of 78 amateur players was cut after two days of medal play, with the low 16 golfers entering match play on the third day.
In the finals on Aug. 31, Arlington’s Jimmy Delp won his first state title by beating medalist Jason Copeland from Virginia Beach, 1-up.
"This is first big title that I’ve won in a long time," he said afterward
And he won with considerable style. Leading 1-up going into the par-5 18th hole, he elected to go for the green in two. He hit a 6-iron from 210 yards to within 15 feet of the cup, while Copeland chipped his third to within 14 feet. When Delp’s putt settled inches from the hole, Copeland conceded the match.
Delp had built a 4-up lead by the ninth hole in the finals, but his lead dwindled. Suddenly only 1-up on the par-3 14th, Delp made matters worse when his tee shot leaked into a greenside bunker.
"I made the best up-an-down of my life on that hole," he said.
He and Copeland halved the hole, Delp regained his momentum, and Copeland stayed in the match through 18 only with great scrambling around the green.
A 2002 George Mason graduate, Delp, 30, lives in Balston and works for the facilities management division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Two Fairfax players reached the semifinals, Jeffrey Topp and Tom Adrounie, but lost to Delp and Copeland, respectively.
In the early days of American golf, players had to belong to private clubs in order to be eligible to play in national championships. Faced with a growing number of public-course players, the U.S. Golf Association, which has conducted the U.S. Open and Amateur since 1895, established its first men’s public links championship in 1922. The Virginia State Golf Association started its men’s public links championship in 2004, but does not offer a women’s event. USGA held its first national women’s public links tournament in 1977.