MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Evan Beck got his amateur status back. Then he got his smile back. Winning will do that for you.
The Virginia Beach native birdied the 18th and final hole of this year's State Open of Virginia, finishing with a 68 and a total of 12 under par, to beat defending champ Mark Lawrence Jr. by one stroke to earn his second Open title.
“Winning always feels good,” said Beck, who had four birdies and a single bogey during his final round. “I don’t care how old I am, it feels good to hold that trophy. Very happy. It’s been a nice couple of weeks.”
Beck took a one shot lead into Sunday's final round, but both he and Lawrence missed several chances to take the lead throughout the first 12 holes.
They traded and shared the lead several times throughout the back 9 at Independence Golf Club over the final round.
"We both made a ton of pars" Beck said. "I could sense Mark was getting a little frustrated. I was as well, and was trying to stay patient, but it was very difficult. It's like there was Saran Wrap on the hole. I couldn't get anything to go."
Beck made the first statement on the 14th hole with a 35 foot birdie putt to take the lead by one, but gave it right back with a bogey on the next hole.
Lawrence birdied 3 and 4 but then watched as several opportunities slipped by over the next 13 holes.
The round turned at the par-5, 17th hole. Lawrence had an eagle putt that came up 2 feet short. Beck had another long try for birdie, knowing Lawrence would be making his birdie effort, and he curled in a 25 foot birdie of his own to keep a share of the lead.
"It was huge," Beck said afterward. "I knew I had to make it to have a chance on 18 to win."
On 18, Lawrence played first, hitting his approach to about 12 feet. Beck stood over his shot for a few extra moments before stuffing a wedge to within 4 feet of the hole.
"The wind was in my face, so I backed off," Beck recalled. "I hit my gap wedge, it came off really nicely. I couldn't see it land."
Lawrence couldn't get his birdie putt to fall, sliding it by on the right hand side. He knew he had lost at that point.
“Felt like I hit a good putt, it just didn’t go in,” said Lawrence, who also shot 68 on Sunday. “Kind of the story of the day for me.”
Because Beck is again an amateur, Lawrence was the low pro for the tournament and earned the winner's check, his first as a professional.
A small consolation for a player trying to become the first in seven years to win back-to-back State Open titles.
“That’s not why I’m playing, though,” Lawrence said. “I’m playing to win. So just a frustrating day out there for me.”
Beck, who has joined the workforce and said he wasn't sure when his next round of competitive golf might be, had the added bonus of winning in front of his father, Gary, the VSGA president.
"It’s awesome to have him close by," Beck said. "He’s given a lot to the VSGA, and obviously, to me. It’s really cool to get one done.”