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Record Bricker

August 14, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Chad Bricker and Kevin Reiber went hunting for beavers and they ended up with plenty of birdies.

For good measure, Bricker even bagged an eagle.

In a shootout not seen before in the 23 years of the WACO Championship, the 19-year-old Bricker erased many of the WACO scoring standards Sunday by covering Beaver Creek Country Club's 6,600-yard par-72 layout with a 9-under-par 63 to successfully defend his tournament title.

"It is my best-ever competitive round," said Bricker. "I fell back on a lot of the experiences at the (Pa.) amateur and that helped give me confidence."

Following an opening-round 1-over-par 73 on Saturday, Bricker ended with an 8-under 136, two strokes better than old Waynesboro Area Senior High School teammate Kevin Reiber, who shot a 4-under 68 and finished at 138.

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"I really expected Kevin to play well today, but I didn't expect Kenny (Smith) not to," said Bricker, who won the Pennsylvania Amateur championship last week.

Bricker said after the first round he would come out with more aggressiveness on Sunday.

"After the first three holes I knew it would be a pretty good round," Bricker said.

He established a competitive course record at Beaver Creek, WACO records for 18 and 36 holes and the front-nine record with a 32. He also tied the back-nine total of 31 and tied Reiber for most birdies in a round with nine.

"I pretty much fired at all the pins except one," said Bricker.

Even after firing a 32 on the front nine with five birdies, Bricker, who played two groups ahead of Reiber and first-round leader Kenny Smith, said he kept telling himself, "I still have nine holes to go."

Smith, also of Waynesboro, couldn't right his wrongs off the tee and suffered a four-hole aggregate of 5-over on the front nine to fall from contention. After a 67 on Saturday, Smith finished with a 74 and ended in a third-place tie with John Kingora, of Waynesburg, Pa., who shot 69-72.

"Tee shots were the whole story for me and my irons weren't too stellar either," said Smith, the 2002 WACO champion. "All you kept hearing was 'Bricker birdie, Bricker birdie.' I folded like a cheap suit."

Not to be outdone by record-setting performances, Hagerstown's Ashley Grier established a women's competitive course record at Beaver Creek with a 2-under par 70 that gave her an even-par 144 for the weekend and a fifth-place finish.

Reiber knocked down three birdies on the front nine for a 33 and was at 5-under, two shots ahead of Bricker. He moved the lead to three strokes with a birdie on the 400-yard 10th hole, while both posted birdies on No. 11, a par-5 on which Bricker's drive covered 365 yards.

The momentum began to turn toward Bricker on the par-4, 355-yard 13th as he unleashed a 345-yard drive straight at the pin. He calmly knocked in the 10-foot eagle putt to get to 6-under, one behind Reiber, who had five straight pars beginning on No. 12.

Bricker put tbirdies on the scorecard at the par-3 14th and par-5 15th to go 8-under and snag the lead from Reiber.

Despite a bogey on the par-3 16th, Bricker came back with a nifty 22-foot downhill putt on No. 17 for a birdie. As Bricker finished his round with a par, Reiber was suffering his only snafu with a bogey on 17 that dropped him to 6-under.

"I just couldn't do anything with the putter after 12," said Reiber. "I did what I wanted to do early and was where I wanted to be. Chad just played so great."

Bricker loaded into the family car and was off to the Pittsburgh area for the Pennsylvania Open, which begins tomorrow at Nemecolin Woods. Reiber also will be playing.

Many eyes of the gallery were turned toward Grier on Sunday, who had five birdies to offset three bogeys in one of her finest performances on one of the longest courses by yardage she's played.

"I had to prove to myself and to the guys that I could do it," said Grier, the reigning Maryland Women's Open champion. "It's been an awesome summer."

Other winners on the day included Boonsboro graduate Nick Zaccaria with a 155 in the 2nd Flight, Joel Rice, Brendan Benisek and Don Tapley with 168 each in the 3rd Flight and Jarrod Berthold with a 174 in the 4th Flight.

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