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Serrao rallies to win RGA Mid-Amateur title with birdie surge

Serrao rallies to win RGA Mid-Amateur title with birdie surge

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Richmond’s Steve Serrao birdied the final three holes to finish an 8-under 62 on Saturday to complete a four-stroke comeback win at the 36th Richmond Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at The Country Club of Virginia’s Westhampton Course.

Serrao has been playing golf since he was a youth and played for the Cavaliers at the University of Virginia. He plays in all the Richmond Golf Association events and in some state events.

“I took a lot of time off when the kids were little but I’m 52 years old now and the kids are in college and I’ve got some time to play and practice,” he said.

The championship is open to golfers ages 25 and older who are members of the RGA or Virginia State Golf Association member clubs.

Serrao was in a tight race late in the day and stood tied with Ashland’s Tom Vlahakis going to the 16th hole. Vlahakis is a two-time winner, most recently in 2018.

Vlahakis came into the day tied for fourth with 2019 winner Ben Keefer, after shooting 1 over on Friday.

Serrao came into the day tied for sixth with Jeremiah Rich, who shot 2 over. Serrao was in a good spot going into 18 on Friday but double bogeyed to finish his day.

“That was disappointing,” he said. “I had a really good run yesterday, but I couldn’t make any putts. I was hoping today would be the day they all went in and that’s kind of what happened.”

Brandon Ramseur, Peyton Lawson and Greg Bales all posted the top score on Friday for par.

On Saturday, Serrao hit a great second shot on 16 to set up a manageable putt that gave him a one-stroke advantage. Vlahakis’ fourth shot on 16, a par-4, was just short of the hole to give him a bogey and extend Serrao’s lead. Vlahakis finished the day 3 under and 2 under overall.

Serrao continued to extend the gap after his exceptional tee shot on 17 set up another birdie putt that he sank. Up three strokes heading into the 18th hole, Serrao missed the fairway on his tee shot. On the par-5 hole, his third shot made the green to set up a long birdie putt.

In his final stroke of the tournament, he nailed the deep putt and exulted, knowing he finished 6 under in the tournament and had likely secured a victory.

“I played it conservative on 18. I just happened to make a good putt for birdie.”

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