Vallencourt sets course record; finishes second at JAGA Senior Championship

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ST. JOHNS -- Mike Vallencourt left the St. Johns Golf and Country Club without a trophy Tuesday afternoon, but he left an impression that forever will be etched in Jacksonville Area Golf Association history.

The Orange Park golfer birdied his last seven holes in the final round of the JAGA Senior Amateur for a course-record 10-under-par 62, but it still wasn’t enough to win the 50-year-old division.

Vallencourt cut 14 strokes off his first-round score of 76 by making 11 birdies and a three-putt bogey for a 36-hole score of 6-under 136.

Tim Cobb, who moved to Northeast Florida three months ago and joined St. Johns, eventually finished with a 4-under 68 to finish at 7-under 135.

A torrential downpour stopped play for nearly an hour. Vallencourt was in the middle of the fairway at the 18th hole, while Cobb had just made the turn.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t know about what Mike was doing,” Cobb said.

Vallencourt ultimately hit his approach at the water-logged final green, and he calmly rolled in a 12-footer to beat the course record by two shots.

“Sometimes you stand over it, you look at it, you decide where you want to hit it and it works,” Vallencourt said. “Sometimes things just fall in line.”

The 61-year-old player decided to compete in younger Senior division for players between 50-59. Jacksonville’s Gary Blackwell (73-74) won the Super Senior division (60-69 years old) at 3-over, while Kingsland, Georgia’s Danny Daniels (69-71) won the Grand Senior class (70-plus) at 4-under.

Tuesday’s round made the first-round troubles easy to forget for Vallencourt. He started with two bogeys and two double-bogeys in his first 15 holes before rallying with birdies at 16 and 18.

Over a two-day stretch, Vallencourt made 13 birdies in his final 21 holes.

“Seventeen is a 200-yard par-3, so all I wanted to do was hit the green,” he said. “I was 25 feet away and I made it. When I stood on the tee at 18, I don’t care what they say, you’re nervous. I tried to take it one swing at a time.

“I didn’t win, but it was way special. The bar has been reset. I had a great time. I’ve never had anything like that happen before. It’s something I’ll remember for a long, long time.”

Cobb clinched the championship with a bogey-free final round.

Chad Branton of Cartersville, Georgia tied Vallencourt for second place, while St. Augustine’s Billy Lodise, another St. Johns Golf and Country Club member, was fourth at 4-under, while David Anthony of Marsh Landing Country Club was fifth at 3-under.

Other local efforts included Orange Park’s Richard Ames (2-over), who was tied for ninth in the Senior division, and Middleburg’s Chuck Kirk (4-over), who tied for ninth.

John Lobb’s run at a record-tying three straight – and four of the last five – JAGA Senior Amateur titles was tied for 11th. The retired Naval Station Mayport executive officer was derailed by back-to-back triple bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes during the first round.

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