WILLIAMSBURG, VA-- Former ODU golfing great and Hall of Famer Jon Hurst ('91) shot a 4-under-par 68 to earn medalist honors in stroke-play qualifying for the VSGA Public Links Championship at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club's Green Course. Hurst is the tournament's defending champion.
Hurst earned the top seed for match play, which begins on Saturday. Jimmy Delp (Arlington), the 2009 champion,returned 2-under 70 and is the second low qualifier for match play. Teenager Rives Fleming of Richmond and Roanoke’s Justin Young also posted red numbers, with both competitors carding 1-under 71 to fill the third and fourth seeds, respectively. Three others shot even-par 72 in local, Robert Bonney III (Williamsburg), as well as Tom Wharton of Stafford and Connor Rinoski (Yorktown).
Hurst got off to a strong start, birdieing four of the first five holes. He started the round by birdieing the first two holes, knocking in putts of 15 and 8 feet. Thereafter, he had a tap-in at the par-4 fourth and completed the early surge by draining a 15-footer at the ensuing hole. Hurst, who plays at Lee’s Hill Golfers’ Club in Fredericksburg, had little difficulty in finding the pace of the putting surfaces on day one.
“The greens here are just like the ones I play at home, so I didn’t have a hard time adjusting,” he said.
Hurst, 43, has won three consecutive events in the commonwealth leading into the Publinx and his hot start signaled a continuation of his good play.
“It took a lot of pressure off. I started hitting it in the middle of greens and knew I could play safe,” Hurst said.
All told, competitors at 2-over 74 or better made the match play field. Hurst won last year’s championship at stroke play and knows anything can happen with the uncertainties inherent in match play, which starts Saturday.
“With only 16 guys and 74 being the cut-off number, there should be close matches from here on out,” said Hurst, who is trying to become the event’s first repeat champion.
Jon Hurst became ODU’s first Division I All-American I golf. In 1991, He took sixth in the NCAA Regionals at Yale and earned All-American honors by the Golf Coaches Association after competing at the NCAA National Championships in Monterey, CA. Hurst won five collegiate tournaments as a senior along with two second place finishes. He was third at the Sun Belt Conference Championships and won the 1990 Eastern Amateur in Portsmouth by 10 strokes. Hurst was named the 1991 Virginia Golfer of the Year. He graduated in 1993 with a degree in sports management and was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
The first and quarterfinal rounds of match play are set for Saturday followed by the semifinals and championship final on Sunday.
WILLIAMSBURG –– Results from stroke play qualifying at the 10th Virginia State Golf Association Public Links Championship at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club’s Green Course (6,722 yards, par 36-36—72) on Friday, Aug. 23.
Jon Hurst (Fredericksburg), 32-36—68
Jimmy Delp (Arlington), 38-32—70
Justin Young (Roanoke), 37-34—71
Rives Fleming (Richmond), 35-36—71
Tom Wharton (Stafford), 34-38—72
Robert Bonney III (Williamsburg), 35-37—72
Connor Rinoski (Yorktown), 38-34—72
Ryan Nolan (Virginia Beach), 36-37—73
Ken Zecchini (Virginia Beach), 37-36—73
Tom Baron (Virginia Beach), 37-36—73
Jeffrey Klatt (Manassas), 37-36—73
Jacek Wolicki (Charlottesville), 36-37—73
Quinn Boyle (Christiansburg), 38-35—73
Jason Copeland (Virginia Beach), 36-37—73