MITCHELLVILLE -- Host professional Larry Ringer fired a bogey-free 35-3368 and took a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the 72nd annual Maryland Open at Prince George's Country Club yesterday.
Amateur Tom Iredell of Indian Spring CC posted 37-3370, followed by three at 71, including defending champion Jon Stanley of Burning Tree Club.
From a field of 200, it took a score of 77 to advance to today's second round. There will be 62 players and two with a chance at that number -- Jon LeSage and Bob Dolan -- will return at 7 a.m. to complete their rounds.
Ringer, 46, the Open titlist in 1972 and 1980, birdied the first hole, then strung together 11 straight pars. He birdied the 13th from 25 feet, the 15th from 15 feet and the 17th from 15 feet.
He also had three par-saving putts on the front and a heroic one at the 465-yard 16th, where he came up short, then hit a 70-foot pitch shot that just crested a rise in the green and stopped three inches from the cup.
Iredell, 22, a recent University of Virginia graduate, highlighted his round with three birdies on putts inside of five feet.
Stanley was also headed for a sub-par tour, but double-bogeyed the 380-yard 17th, where he had tree and bunker problems. He finished 36-3571.
Among those who squeezed in was Art Scott of Ocean City Golf, who was headed for the cut list when he eagled the 540-yard 18th hole in near-darkness, hitting driver, 3-wood to six feet. It gave him 39-3776.
Although local knowledge of the 6,800-yard course was of value to Ringer, in his second year at the Woodmore Road site, he explained that the course is keyed to positive position, making course management critical. "And I get geared up for big events," he said.
The tournament will conclude tomorrow.