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Beaver Creek uses home as heart of state title win

April 25, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Brian Crabtree hits a drive from the 13th tee during Saturday's Maryland State Team championship at Beaver Creek.
By Colleen Helf/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- The home course cooking was just a little bit better for Beaver Creek Country Club in Saturday's finale of the Maryland Golf Association State Team Championship.

While half the Beaver Creek team managed to take three of nine possible points on the road, the other half grabbed a 6 1/2-2 1/2 advantage at home on Saturday to secure a 9 1/2-8 1/2 victory over Hillendale Country Club in the 80th annual matches.

With Beaver Creek in the clubhouse, it was a wait-and-see drama until the final strokes were carded at Hillendale.

When Steve Ligi tapped in a 2-foot par putt on the 17th hole and Bernie Deane finished off the 18th, they secured the much-needed 1 point with a back nine win and set off handshakes and celebrations around the Beaver Creek clubhouse.

Beaver Creek's victory is its second in the long history of the tournament. The first came in 1999, also against Hillendale.

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"We're all feeling pretty good about what we've accomplished over the past three weeks," said Beaver Creek pro Dirk Schultz, who played at Hillendale and was on the 1999 team.

"This one is sweeter," he said. "The first time I was the horse, but this time we had the horses that carried me."

Schultz and partner Finley Benjamin were shut out 3-0 in points at Hillendale but Ken Lampard and Chris Taylor came through with a 2-1 win.

At Beaver Creek, Brian Crabtree and Randy Barnes started things off with a 2 1/2-1/2 victory after an all-square start through the first nine holes.

Greg Henry and Tim Steiner started fast with a point on the front nine with a 3-up lead but Hillendale's Chad Unitas and Tom O'Laughlin came back to win the back nine and forge a 1 1/2-all tie.

Unitas, the son of legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas, had a huge chip-in on the 17th hole that forced the Henry-Steiner team to win the 18th.

Henry just missed a par putt on 18 to end the match halved.

The third Beaver Creek group, Chuck Thatcher and Denny Stoner, took care of business on the front nine and ended with a 2 1/2-1/2 victory.

Along the way to the final, Beaver Creek had defeated Maryland National, Cumberland, Holly Hills, Congressional and Bethesda.

Seven members of the Beaver Creek championship squad were also members of the 1999 champions -- Schultz, Lampard, Henry, Benjamin, Steiner, Barnes and Bill Kushay.

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