Past champions reflect on State Open Of Virginia

Posted at 10:53 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 23:38:39-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The State Open Of Virginia tees off Friday, July 16, at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian.

The tournament provides a test for the best golfers in the Commonwealth.

"Watching this tournament as a kid was my earliest memory of professional golf," four-time State Open of Virginia champion Jay Woodson said. "It was the first tournament that I had ever been to. Just to be able to hold the trophy. After seeing that and having that be one of the big moments in my golfing career, looking at that trophy and seeing some of the names on there was just incredible. It gave me a lot of confidence for the next four or five years to try and get better."

"I had lost in two playoffs. I had a really hard time putting three good rounds of golf together. It was kind of eating away at me. I was frustrated and I didn't know what I needed to do differently,"
2020 champion Mark Lawrence Jr. said. "But being able to put three rounds together last year really was just a huge boost of confidence and gave me a lot of belief in my ability and what I'm capable of doing moving forward."

"Occasionally, a club pro here will remind me of it or one of my coaches. It's definitely really cool. It's something that when I'm older I can look back on and be proud of,"
2019 champion Jack Montague said. "It was big for me in that I realized I could compete with all these other guys and if I play well, I have the game to compete and potentially win."

Lawrence said the State Open was always a tournament he wanted to win.

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"I remember when I was younger looking in the paper and seeing guys come out here and winning and thinking I want to be that one day. To be able to put my name alongside a lot of those guys' names, it's something special to me and I'm really thankful I was able to do it," he said.

Montague added it was the one tournament he looked forward to every year.

"One of the biggest events in Virginia," he said. "Being at Independence this year is awesome, I'll get to sleep in my own bed, which will be nice. It's definitely one I look forward to every year. You get a lot of really good players. The courses are always in really good shape, the fields are always really good, and it's a lot of fun."

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Woodson called it a showcase for Virginia golf.

"It's essentially, the best players in the state. So if you're able to win this event, you are the best player in the state of Virginia which is pretty cool," he said. "I love this golf tournament. I love this golf course. Obviously, I've been here and had some success here. I will always play in it as long as they'll let me, as long as I qualify, I'll play in it every year that I can."

The State Open Of Virginia airs on CBS 6 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

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