Amateur Rob Black of Army Navy blasted out of a sad trap to within three inches of the final hole for par and finished with 72-211 to win the Virginia Open by two shots yesterday at Reston Golf and Country Club.
Black, 19-year-old sophomore-to-be at the University of Florida who lives in Vienna, held a four-stroke lead at the beginning of the final round over pros David Jimenez of Wintergreen and Woody FitzHugh of Washington Golf and Country Club.
Jimenez, first-round leader and former Woodmont pro, dropped out of the chase with a double bogey on the long par-4 sixth hole and FitzHugh could only match Black's mediocre front nine of 38.
But amateurs Ted Vallo of Reston and Pete Van Pelt of Army Navy, playing in the foursome in front of Black, each shot the front nine in 34 and crept to within one shot of the 6-foot-5 Black, runner'up in last week's District Amateur.
"I told him to slow down," said the winner's father, Robert Black Sr., a 2 handicapper frequently seen in his son's gallery. "He was playing too fast."
Black later confirmed that it was anxiousness that forced him to miss some shots on the front nine, including a pulled tee shot into trees on the par-5 ninth, which resulted in bogey 6.
After a half-hour rain delay, Van Pelt pulled even with Black by parring the long par-4 10th.Black minutes later bogeyed the hole from sand.
Van Pelt took a one-stroke lead on the par-5 11th when his skulled sand shot struck the pin, leaving him a tap-in birdie. Black parred the hole.
Vallo stayed within striking distance by also scoring birdie 4 on the 11th, but the litter golfer fell back when he bogeyed the 12th hole.
Black pulled even with Van Pelt with a birdie on the par-4 13th hole. He regained the lead for good with a two-shot swing on the uphill par-4 14th when he rolled in his second straight birdie putt after Van Pelt had bogeyed.
FitzHugh mounted a charge when he birdied Nos. 8, 11, 14 and 15 and finished with 70-213, good for low pro and $1,200. Van Pelt birdied the final hole for the day's low round, 69, good for a tie with FitzHugh.
Jimenez, Vallo and Bruce Lehnhard of Evergreen were next at 217.
The issue was still in doubt for Black heading the narrow par-4 finishing hole. Holding a two-stroke lead over Van Pelt and FitzHugh, Black used an iron for his tee shot and it split the fairway. His approach shot fell short, into a trap guarding the green. He almost holed out his explosion shot for his biggest victory.