Greens have golfers sliding off fast track

October 28, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Today's final round in the Maryland State Golf Championship will be all about positioning for the individual title at the University of Maryland.

On a day when only City College's William Lynn could shoot par (71) and only eight others managed to break 80, including a 78 by Catoctin's Pat Clark, in Wednesday's first round, the field of Class 2A/1A hopefuls was left in arrears.

Meanwhile, Walkersville produced the best team round with an aggregate 327, but the Lions will have to find a way to overcome the lead of all six Class 4A/3A teams, starting with a 305 from Northern.


The 22 boys and seven girls qualifiers will join the remainder of the field for a shotgun start at 9 a.m. today. The 4A/3A field produced 48 boys and 13 girls qualifiers.

Lynn, who started with a 1-under par 34 on the front nine, is two strokes behind overall leader Dennis Kwon of Walter Johnson. Defending boys champion Patrick Hinch of Aberdeen opened with a 73.

Clark (38-40) was one of nine area boys to qualify individually. Middletown's Tyler Ausherman and Williamsport's Logan Hintze each posted 80, Smithsburg's Brandon Sheaffer had an 82 and Catoctin's Derrick Thompson and Ian Cuddahee each avoided the cut with 83s.

Walkersville's Josh Williford and Greg Nelson each shot an 80 and George Ackland shot an 81 and they'll also continue on as a team along with Bryan Abbamonte, who had an 86 and will play on a team basis only.

In the girls division, Andrea Grier shot 84 and Alicia Grier carded 85 to represent Smithsburg, while Middletown's Kristen Waeber joined the mix with an 86.

They, too, will have an uphill battle to catch Northeast's Stephanie Connelly, who leads the girls field with a 72. Defending champion Michelle Grilli of Pikesville shot a 74.

The lightning-quick greens on the 6,713-yard Maryland layout posed a number of problems for many golfers. Some hit balls into water, others were finding trees far off the fairways and others were ranging from two to five putts on a green.

Ausherman finished his front nine in 44, despite starting with a double bogey followed by a quick triple bogey. He hit two balls in the water off the tee before he managed to recover for an even-par 36 on the back nine.

"I really was out of practice. ... I really haven't played much since the county," Ausherman said. "I did OK putting, it was just getting to the green. It's a good experience being here and I'll try to come out and really be aggressive today."

Hintze had his troubles on the front side with a 42 in his first state tournament experience, but rebounded with a 38 once he got his iron play straightened out.

"I hit my drives great. ... It was from 150 yards and in that wasn't so great," Hintze said. "These greens are so fast, but I only had one three-putt."

Sheaffer breathed a sigh of relief after making the cut with a 39-43.

"I feel lucky," he said. "I didn't hit the ball well - had six straight bogeys at one point - and I'm just lucky. I've got nothing to lose in the final round."

Walkersville posted better team scores to win the regional and MVAL titles, but will have to better those performances to challenge for the team title.

"We just didn't play well enough to our averages," said Williford. "We're saving it for tomorrow."

Nelson said the greens were fast, but were bumpy and inconsistent in his second trip to the state tournament.

Andrea Grier said she will have to putt better if she wants to improve her score.

"I missed eight putts inside of five feet. I was overreading them. I just want to come out and shoot in the 70s," she said.

Alicia Grier, who is making her state debut as a sophomore, suffered the same putting problems on her front nine, which led to a 46. She shot 39 on the back nine.

Boonsboro (344) and Catoctin (337) each to qualify in the team tournament.

Boonsboro's Nick Zaccaria shot an 84, which included a two-stroke penalty for failing to replace a marked ball to its original position before putting. Brian Poole shot 84, Curtis Harsh 87 and Nick Lupo 89 to round out the Warriors' score.

David Crum rounded out Catoctin's group with a 91.

South Hagerstown freshman Robbie Suddith (47-49-96) and Brunswick's Kyle Beeson (49-48-77) and Brittany Switlick (57-47-104) all failed to qualify for the second round.

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