Story on Onesi by Amber Kuehn of the Virginian Pilot
July 12, 2008
ODU's Onesi leads heading into third round of Men's Amateur
By Amber Kuehn
Eric Onesi said he knows the greens and fairways at Elizabeth Manor Country Club inside and out.
The 20-year-old Onesi, a rising junior at Old Dominion, shot a 6-under-par 64 in Friday's second round of the Eastern Amateur. Coupled with the 63 he shot Thursday, Onesi leads by three shots.
"I just feel real comfortable out here because we play here for school all the time," Onesi said. "I know where to hit on the greens and where not to, and I just played it smart out there."
Eighty-three golfers at 142 or better made the cut.
This marks Onesi's third year in the tournament. Last year he finished 12th, three spots better than in 2006.
Onesi said he was surprised at how low he's shot the last two days. "I didn't even get a practice round in," he said.
The reason? Onesi won the Delaware State Am on Wednesday by 13 strokes, just one day before the Eastern Am. He said he didn't feel rushed, but is tired and hopes he can get some rest to continue his strong play through the weekend.
"I'm just playing really well these last couple of weeks," Onesi said. "It feels great."
Onesi said he's only been playing competitively for five years. An avid baseball and basketball player, Onesi was diagnosed with a blood disorder in 1999 that prevented him from playing contact sports. He called it a blessing in disguise.
"I had to give them up and just picked up golf one day," he said. "It's been treating me well ever since."
Elizabeth Manor has treated Roger Newsom well for as long as he can remember. But the course's bunkers gave the Portsmouth eye doctor trouble on Friday. Newsom was 3 under after the 10th hole, but carded bogies on the following two holes and found the sand a few times on the back nine. Newsom finished with a 69. He trails by seven shots.
"I had two bad holes that kind of let it get away from me a little bit," he said. "Today I didn't make as many putts and that's probably the difference. "
Newsom said his familiarity with the course helps his game but doesn't necessarily give him an edge.
"These guys are so good, they come in and play well on a course they've never seen," he said.
Steve Liebler is proof, though, that playing the course over several years doesn't equal perfection on the greens. Liebler missed a number of short birdie putts but sank long putts for birdie on the fourth, 14th and 18th holes. The two-time Eastern Am champion - he won in 1981 and 1994 - shot 67 on Friday, matching his first-round score.
Liebler's 19-year-old son Chase played in the tournament for his third time, missing the cut at 145. The father-son duo was not difficult to find - both were clad entirely in pink. When asked if it had been planned, Steve Liebler laughed.
"I told him I was wearing pink the second day," he said, smiling. "I guess that's all he had left."