Tony DeLuca of Chantilly National Golf and Country Club, who had been playing poorly this summer, shot even-par 72 yesterday for a 54-hole total of 216 and a three-stroke victory in the Virginia State Open golf championship at Westwood Country Club.
DeLuca, 21, a senior at the University of Florida, played consistently in the final round while pros Mike Wynn, the runner-up (74-219) from Evergreen, and Billy King, the third-place finisher (76-220) from Roanoke, did not. DeLuca, who won the Virginia PGA Open in 1979, became only the sixth golfer to win both tournaments.
He started the day tied with King, with Wynn one shot back. After nine holes, King and DeLuca still were tied. But King was four over par the next three holes and DeLuca pulled away. He birdied the 10th with a 25-foot putt, then parred and bogeyed while King was going bogey, bogey, double bogey.
Wynn never got closer than one stroke to DeLuca on the back nine, but won the professional's first-place purse of $2,400 from the $15,000 prize money. DeLuca won a gift certificate for $350.
"I had only one birdie today (on No. 6), and that won't catch anyone," Wynn said.
DeLuca's victory has been long awaited, he said. He played poorly at the Sunnehanna tournament in Johnstown, Pa., and failed to qualify for both the Anheuser-Busch PGA tournament in Williamsburg and the Walker Cup. At the Eastern Amateur in Portsmouth, Va., DeLuca was tied for the lead with four holes to play. Three bogeys later, he finished fifth.
This time, DeLuca played to the finish.
"I didn't think I had it until that (last) putt on the 18th," said DeLuca, who lives a few miles from the host course, and who played many of his high school matches for Oakton there. "I figured it would come to the last few holes."
DeLuca, 6 feet 4, had three birdies in yesterday's round, hitting 13 of 18 greens in regulation, and 44 of 54 in the tournament.
"When we started I thought a (even-par) 216 would win the tournament," DeLuca said, "but I didn't figure it would win by three strokes. These greens are tough. They played well."
Roanoke amateur David Tolley finished fourth at 74-221. Wintergreen pro David Jimenez was another shot back with Richmond amateur Tim White at 223. At 224 were pros Steve Liebler of Portsmouth and Mike Moyers of New Market and amateurs Steve Caldwell of Salem, Mike Del Rocco of Centreville, first-round coleader Frank Ferguson of Fairfax and Robert Friend of Richmond.