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County golfers finish strong at states

October 26, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - None of the four Washington County golfers participating on the second day of the Maryland State Golf Championships could do better than a 10th-place finish in the final standings, but all fared better in Wednesday's final round than in Tuesday's opening round at the University of Maryland-College Park course.

North Hagerstown senior Steve Hutzell came away with a 5-over-par 76 to follow up his opening 78, and his two-day 154 left him in a tie for 12th among all boys in the state and in the lead among area golfers.

"I played pretty solid and had nine straight pars at one stretch," said Hutzell, again donned with shorts on a sunny, crisp and windy day. "I didn't think the wind was as much a factor today. ... I wanted to be aggressive and improve and that's what I did."

Hutzell said he left maybe two putts on the course that could have improved his score, leading to bogeys on two of the final four holes.

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If the future blossoms for Hutzell, it will not be the last time he plays the UM course. He will attend Maryland next year and plans to take a shot as a walk-on for the Terps.

Finishing his first trip to the state tournament, Hutzell rated his experience as a "10."

"I just didn't want to be here and do nothing," he said.

Williamsport junior Andrew Duff came back with a 7-over 78 Wednesday after his opening 81 for a 159.

Duff, who carded 38-40 on his nines, took his experience in stride and was thinking ahead to his senior season.

"Now I know I can come and play here," he said. "It serves as an incentive to next year to go for the whole thing. And not just for me, but for the entire (Williamsport) team."

Duff said he "played better than Tuesday, but I dug a hole early with bogeys, but I got out of it."

Boonsboro senior Caleb Hudlow had a five-stroke improvement, carding an 81 Wednesday for 167, good for a tie for 63rd. Hudlow was all smiles after he fought the wind and shot 39 on the front nine.

"I didn't think it was as cold and as windy," he said. "I hit the ball pretty well. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It made the year worthwhile. Just being here is the highlight of my year."

In the girls division, Smithsburg senior Alicia Grier finished with an 8-over 80 Wednesday, taking eight shots off Tuesday's score and ending in a tie for 10th place, receiving a medal.

Grier, who was hoping to add another title to her three junior tournament titles earlier this year, finished on a positive note thanks to a wakeup call that came in the first third of her round after losing four strokes to par on her first three holes of the day.

"All of a sudden, I seemed to get my skills back," she said. "I lost it for 24 holes (including Tuesday) and it just came back. I was finding the right club and not pulling off the ball."

Her front nine still rocketed to a 44, but her 36 on the back nine was 1 under par.

"I'm happy I ended up with a good round," said Grier, noting she's now ready to take the next step playing college golf.

Josh Eure, of South River, posted a 1-over 72 to finish at even-par 142 for the boys individual title, and Arundel's Lauren Smith shot a 75 for a two-day score of 5-over 149 to claim the girls medalist honors.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association combined all four classifications into one overall champion among the boys and girls. It recognized two team champions. In 1A/2A, Glenelg won the title; in 3A/4A, Winston Churchill took top honors.

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