DALEVILLE — If John Hatcher Ferguson experienced pent-up emotions following the premature end to the college golf season, they were released Saturday at Ashley Plantation.

Ferguson, who represents The Westlake, shot a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday at Ashley Plantation for a two-day total of 136 and a six-shot lead among the men in the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame Championship.

In the team competition, Westlake takes a one-shot lead over first-day leader Blacksburg Country Club, whose Brandon Linkous had one of the two sub-70 rounds of the day.

Men’s and women’s events will conclude todayy at Roanoke Country Club.

Ferguson tees off at 1:36 p.m.

Ferguson, from Rocky Mount, won the Class 6A individual championship as a junior for Franklin County High School and was the Old Dominion Athletic Conference rookie of the year as a freshman at Hampden-Sydney in 2019.

Although the coronavirus pandemic put a premature end to the 2020 golf season, Ferguson made first-team All-ODAC this year and was an honorable mention All-American.

“I’ve been working a lot, but I’ve actually been able to get out almost every single day,” Ferguson said.

“These have been the first two tournament rounds I’ve played in since the [college] season was ended.”

He attributed his success Saturday to his play from 100 yards or closer.

“For the most part, I kept the ball in play off the tee,” he said. “To score well, you have to be able to get up and down, you need to hit your wedges well and you have to make some putts.”

Sometimes, it’s not necessary to use a wedge, as Blacksburg’s Ryan Sypniewski can attest after making a hole-in-one on the 18th hole.

As memorable as that feat might be, it was unusual from another aspect.

Sypniewski was paired with Samir Davidov from Roanoke Country Club and Van Renick from Blue Hills Golf Club on what was their ninth hole of the day.

Sypniewski, who played at Virginia Tech from 2003-07, said that Davidov and Renick hit before him and both of their shots landed within 3 feet of the cup.

“I hit my shot and it seemed to be on a good line and I thought I heard the ball hit the pin,” he said. “It must have been a slam dunk straight into the hole.”

For what turned out to be 1-2-2 numerals on the scorecard, their reaction was somewhat muted.

“Nobody could actually see the balls, so nobody knew if they went in,” Sypniewski said.

A showdown between The Westlake and Blacksburg Country Club won’t be the first. Blacksburg won the 2017 event, which was followed by Westlake winning the title 2018. Final-round host and defending champion Roanoke Country Club is 29 shots out of second.

Aaron Summers of Blacksburg Country Club is second among the men at 142, followed by Paul Powell of Hanging Rock at 143. Blacksburg’s Linkous did not play Friday at Botetourt Golf and Swim Club before making his tournament debut Saturday, when he shot 68. His scores will only count in the team competition.

Editor's Note: Doug Doughty reports for The Roanoke Times.



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