Schultz runs hot, cold in FBR Capital Open

June 06, 2003|by LARRY YANOS

POTOMAC, Md. - For the first 13 holes of the FBR Capital Open, Black Rock Golf Course club pro Dirk Schultz proved he belonged with the best in the business.

Competing in the opening round of the PGA event, the 38-year-old Schultz was 1-under par on the soggy Tournament Players Championship course at Avenel and was looking forward to making the 36-hole cut.

Five holes later, a suddenly struggling Schultz finished at three-over-par 74 in a marathon round which took over five hours to complete.


Schultz will need a decent round today to make the cut and has a 1:48 p.m. tee time. He will again be paired with Jason Caron of Jupiter, Fla. and Anthony Painter of Tamworth, Australia.

"I don't know if it was fatigue or nerves," Schultz said of his play down the stretch. "I'm hitting off the tee on 14 and I'm 1-under. I'm feeling pretty good about things."

Despite the sluggish finish, Schultz remained optimistic.

"I'm hoping I shoot even par or better (today) and the cut is plus-2," Schultz. "I hit the ball well off the tee all day, my irons, my wedge and my putting were disappointing. I also got a little defensive on the greens on the back nine."

Thursday's opening-round score by the Hagerstown resident was still better than some of the more established professionals, and Schultz is eyeing some improvement on his overall game today.

He started Thursday with a birdie and then recorded eight straight pars despite some very slow play on the par 71, 6,987-yard-yard layout.

He remained on the leaderboard for part of the day but couldn't maintain the early momentum.

Schultz finished the front nine with a 35 and then added a 39 on the back side.

"I was really happy with the front nine," Schultz said. "I didn't make any mistakes and that provided some confidence because I usually start slowly. I was especially pleased with the par on 3, I drained about a 30-foot putt."

Schultz knows he must improve his play with the irons and the putter to be competitive again today.

"I really was consistent off the tee but my second and third shots were not the best," Schultz said. "It seemed every lie I had was squishy. The course was really wet, not many dry spots at all."

Windy conditions didn't help the situation, either.

"It's been tough." course superintendent Dennis Ingram said. "The course was on the verge of being unplayable due to the extensive rain. We can't take any more water. If we didn't have a tournament here right now, the course would be closed. We need some sunny, windy days."

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