FINAL ROUND 67 SECURES VICTORY
Well-known Southside Virginia golfer, Randy “The Rock” Whitlow of Kenbridge, shot a final round 67 Sunday and captured his third club championship at South Hill Country Club.
Whitlow shot 68-67--135 (-7) for the week-end and prevailed by two shots over long bomber Jacob Berryman, who on Sunday shot 65 -- the best round of the tournament.
Also lurking was seventime Southside Champion Bryant Reese, who has won the South Hill club title on 19 occasions.
Whitlow admitted afterwards that at the start of play Sunday, he was so focused on Reese, he had overlooked the solid play of Berryman.
After leading by three shots when the final round began, Whitlow saw his lead evaporate after the front nine, due in large part to a double-bogey at the par-4 fifth hole, a hole that Berryman birdied.
The back nine essentially became match play between Whitlow, 55, and Berryman, 23.
Whitlow managed to carry a three-shot lead to the teebox of the par-5 17th. Both Whitlow and Berryman hit long drives, but Whitlow missed the green on his second while Berryman had a six-footer for eagle.
Whitlow executed a delicate pitch to the green but still had 15 feet left for birdie. He drained the birdie putt and Berryman made his eagle, but Whitlow had a two-shot lead and an enjoyable stroll up #18. Both golfers parred the final hole.
Whitlow carded six birdies Sunday, including four on the back nine.
Reese finished third at 71- 71-142 (Even Par).
Whitlow, who has spent the past three years devoting more time to physical fitness, including DDP yoga, is now a five-time club champion and hoping for more celebrations.
He’s gained strength and, during a stretch this past summer, had to recalibrate some of his iron distances. Now he’s ‘dialed-in.’
He’s won two club championships (2002, 2007) at Lunenburg Country Club, where he’s also a member, in addition to South Hill titles in 2013, 2015, and now 2020. He also recalls five runner-up finishes in this event.
Whitlow says Sunday’s victory might be his sweetest.
“In this game, you never know when you’re going to get another chance to win.”