It didn't take long for Jim Gallagher to establish himself as a talented player on the Tidewater Amateur Golf Tour. In his first season, 2008, the Yorktown golfer won Rookie of the Year honors.
In 2009, he had tour members convinced that he was better than a rookie wonder. He set an American Golf Tour record by winning 11 of 14 tournaments and was named the Tidewater tour's Player of the Year.
The honors didn't end there, despite having to undergo knee surgery after the end of the 2009 regular season. He shared Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2010.
This season, he's at the top of his game again. Gallagher, now 53, proved that this past Tuesday and Wednesday when he won the Golfweek Senior Amateur National Championship in Pinehurst, N.C.
"It was a big win," the former Air Force navigator said on Friday. "It was my first major senior title and it was a national championship against a field of quality players."
What made it extra gratifying was the way he won. Gallagher, representing the Tidewater tour, and first-round leader Dennis Brady of Florida were tied going into the last hole — a 448-yard par-4 — in the 36-hole event.
After a huge drive with a tailwind, Gallagher hit an approach shot that he'll never forget — a 109-yard gap wedge that settled 4 feet from the pin and led to a birdie. Brady couldn't come close to matching that approach shot and ended up 3-putting for a bogey and finished two strokes behind in second place.
Gallagher shot an even-par 71 at the highly-renowned Pine Needles Course the first day and a 1-over 73 the final round at Seven Lakes.
Gallagher, third in the tournament last year, got off to a great start the first day. Starting at No. 2 at Pine Needles, he was 5-under after nine holes, highlighted by a chip-in birdie from off the green at 10 Then the winds picked up with bad weather approaching the area and it was tough going the final nine holes.
Defending champ Tom Cone of Charlotte and Rick Luzar of Pinehurst tied for third with rounds of 72-76.
Led by fullback Isaiah Norris, and running back Zopella Barnes, the Aberdeen Raiders Black completed a perfect 10-0 season by winning their third consecutive Hampton Youth Football City Championship in the Intermediate Division with a 26-12 victory over the Northampton Bruins at Darling Stadium on Nov. 15.
Norris ran for touchdowns of 10 and 25 yards while Barnes scored twice, including a dazzling 25-yard run.
One of the biggest plays of the contest came when safety Damian Knowlin stopped a Northampton drive deep into Raiders' territory in the fourth quarter with Aberdeen leading 20-12.
Aberdeen's defense, which allowed only four TDs all season, was led by Amir Capeheart, Marquis Merritt, Rahim Perry and Norris.
Head coach Dave Walters attributed the 3-peat to "a dedicated coaching staff that truly understands the value of instilling a winning attitude and providing positive guidance and direction to our young men."
Juniors Division: Quarterback Hassan Price put on a super performance, running for touchdowns of 16 and 4 yards, passing for three scores, and hauling in two interceptions to propel the regular-season champion Woodland Wildcats to a 31-0 title victory over the defending-champion Tyler Tigers Wednesday at Darling Stadium.
Price connected on TD passes of 15 and 35 yards to Jaekwon Carter and a 25-yarder to Wallace Dumas.
Woodland's defense played superb, allowing only one first down. Standouts were noseguard Johnathan Goodman with two sacks, middle linebacker Greg Daley with a sack and two tackles for a loss, and Price with the two picks.
Community news: Yorktown's Gallagher wins Golfweek Senior Amateur National Championship
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