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Hutzell weathers states

October 25, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Never mind that he stood out like a sore thumb - or, in his case, legs - among the prep golfers bundled up on a day in which windchill temperatures never exceeded the low 40s.

North Hagerstown senior Steve Hutzell isn't a crazy young man. He just likes to wear shorts.

"I wear them all the time," he said. "The weather just doesn't seem to bother me."

In his first appearance in the Maryland State Golf Championships, Hutzell led a foursome of Washington County hopefuls on the first day of the 2A-1A tournament with a 7-over-par 78 on the University of Maryland course, playing at 6,308 yards.

He was only three shots off the lead, jointly held by Middletown's Tyler Ausherman, Oakland Mills' Donnie Shin and Stephen Decatur's Kyle Gebhart.

Williamsport's Andrew Duff carded an 81 and Boonsboro's Caleb Hudlow posted an 86. They'll return today for the second and final day.

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In the girls division, Smithsburg's Alicia Grier succumbed to chipping and putting woes and ended with an 88, but was only two strokes behind Devonne Richardson of Milford Mill and one of only seven girls who made the cut.

"I had two goals being here to shoot in the 70s the first day and to make the cut," said Hutzell, who opened his round with a birdie on the 17th hole in the shotgun format and had 40-38 on his card.

He suffered four bogeys and one double-bogey before he straightened things out, notching birdies on the par-4 seventh and the par-3 14th.

The strong winds made club selection and shot direction crucial, but Hutzell said the wind didn't affect him mentally.

"I took everything hole-by-hole. ... I'll play it the same way tomorrow - hole-by-hole - and I'll be more aggressive," he said, also noting he'll be in shorts again, even with a forecast similar to Tuesday's. "You can't hold back."

Duff, who started on No. 1 in his first state tournament, carded a 40-41. He finished his round with four straight pars that took a little sting out of a stretch of three holes (12,13 and 14) in which he lost four shots to par.

"It was more windy than Monday (at the MVAL Antietam Invitational) and maybe harder to play," said Duff. "I hit fairways but my irons were not good. I just didn't hit any greens, and the greens were bumpy at that."

Hudlow, also making his first state appearance, ended at the cut and gets another chance at the College Park course. He had duplicate front- and back-nine 43s.

"There were a lot of rough greens and I thought today was rougher than Monday," he said. "It was tough to just distance. But I enjoyed the experience."

Grier was in distress following her round, feeling totally out of contention when she walked off the ninth green, her final hole of the day, after missing a 1 1/2-foot putt for par.

"The cold didn't bother me as much as Monday. I just couldn't chip and putt," she said. "I just couldn't make a thing on the greens. I couldn't judge distance. I think I used the right club on one hole."

The final round begins this morning with a shotgun start at 9.

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