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Sullivan in right spot, year to win Maryland Open

July 16, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

Chip Sullivan will take dead aim on a fourth Maryland Open championship this morning and he must like the even years doing it.

The Ashley Plantation professional from Roanoke, Va., plodded his way through a tough Fountain Head Country Club course in 2-under-par 68 on Tuesday to grab the second-round lead at 138, one stroke ahead of Dennis Winters.

Sullivan won the Open in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Sullivan and Winters, along with John Scott Rattan will be the featured pairing at 8:20 a.m. from the first tee in the final round of the 87th Open. Players with the top 40 scores are playing today's final round.

Starting on the 10th tee in the morning group, Sullivan managed an even-par 35 at the turn before catching fire with birdies on the first three holes of the front nine.

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"I took advantage of the first three holes on that front nine," said Sullivan. "I hit the ball well, had wedges into the greens and made birdie. I managed those holes well."

After bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, Sullivan finished his day with a birdie on the 326-yard par-4 ninth hole for a 33.

"You have to get to know the subtleties of this course," said Sullivan. "It's deceivingly long and I learned a lot from the first round. I'm excited (for Wednesday) and now I'm going swimming with my kids."

Whether he dunks the field or not, he'll be challenged by Winters, the 2000 Open champion, who had four birdies and four bogeys for an even-par 70.

"I was consistent, hit some good putts ... a solid overall round," said Winters, who plays out of Nassawango Country Club. "Just have to keep being patient or this course will get up and bite you."

First-round leader Joe Franz, followed his 67 with a 4-over-par 74 and slipped to 141 while Beaver Creek's Dirk Schultz, second with a 68 after Monday's play, also came in with a 74 to lead a pack of seven players at 142.

"The putts that fell for me on Monday didn't fall today," said Franz. "I really did not get a good start to the round, but I'm glad I'm playing Wednesday."

Schultz started on the 360-yard first hole but went right off the tee that led to a double bogey, quickly putting him back to even par.

He followed with bogeys on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 but bounced back with birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10 and another on No. 14 before finishing the round with four pars.

"I couldn't hit the ball straight today," said Schultz, who went bogey-free in Monday's round. "I got a lot out of the 74. Missed greens left and right on Nos. 4, 5 and 6. I could have shot worse, but I'm not disappointed.

"I'll have to think about a 64 (Wednesday) because Chip is not going to back up," said Schultz, who tees off at 7:50 a.m. from the first tee.

Fountain Head assistant pro Brian Boggs, who was first off 10th tee on Tuesday, shot a 2-over 72 before tending to his usual duties in the pro shop for the remainder of the day, anxiously waiting for scores.

He made the cut at 146, despite putting woes that kept his score elevated.

"I hit the ball like a touring pro but couldn't putt worth a lick," said Boggs, who will begin play at 8:30 on the 10th tee.

Ken Lampard was among the late afternoon finishers and, despite his opening-round 76, still carried some hope. He needed to straighten out a balky putter.

He did it at the right time, sinking a sliding 10-foot putt on the 18th hole for a par that gave him a 2-over 72 and an assured spot in the final round.

"I hit the ball extremely good but made no putts, except for the last one," said Lampard, who will tee off at 7:40 from the 10th tee.

Area players who missed the cut were Black Rock's Steve Caron (74-152) and Alex Hoffman (76-155), Beaver Creek's Greg Henry (75-157) and Black Rock's Don Bachtell (78-157).

For more on the Maryland Open, visit Tim Koelble's blog at www.herald-mail.com/sports/blogs/koelble

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