McGinnis leads Senior qualifying

June 21, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

STERLING, Va. -- The first outside competition for the highly regarded 2-year-old Lowes Island Club golf course turned out to be a burner.

On a 90-degree day, Mike McGinnis, head professional at Holly Hills Country Club in Ijamsville, Md., scorched the well-conditioned layout with eight birdies en route to a 5-under-par 35-3267 in leading qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open yesterday.

With three places available for the starting field of 80 players, the medalist was followed by Bob Bilbo of Argyle CC in Silver Spring, 34-3569, and Perky Cullinane, Columbia CC, 37-3572. The championship will be played next week at Pinehurst, N.C., and will be the second such appearance for all three qualifiers.

McGinnis, 55, missed much of the afternoon heat and humidity, but said he began running out of gas down the stretch.

"I did not miss a fairway for the first 15 holes, then missed the last three," he said.

By that time, however, he had all but clinched one of the three spots. "The nice thing about this course is that it is perfectly straightforward," McGinnis said.

"I played over here one day last week, and you see exactly what you have to do."

By the time he finished, not only had he known what he had to do, but he had gone out and done it. The front nine turned out to be a bit of adventure with four birdies and three bogeys, but a three-putt at the seventh green was his last bogey, and he played the last 11 holes 6-under par.

Five of his birdies were on putts of less than 10 feet, but the others were from 15, 20, and 25 feet.

Bilbo, 51, broke quickly with birdies at the second and third holes. He made only one bogey, at the 11th, but came back with birdies at two of the next three holes. For the round, he hit 13 greens and used 28 putts.

Where McGinnis had a practice round, neither Bilbo nor Cullinane, 59, had played the course before. Cullinane, 1-over par through 12 holes, set up his round with an eagle-three at the 531-yard 13th, sinking a 70-yard wedge shot.

He slipped back to even par with a bogey at the 16th, but as he said, "I negotiated some good pars coming in."

Qualifiers: Mike McGinnis, Holly Hills, 35-3267; Bob Bilbo, Argyle, 34-3569; a-Perky Cullinane, Columbia, 37-3572. Alternates (five for four places) in order: a-Jack Vardaman, Congressional, 35-3873 (birdied sixth extra hole); Dick Smith, Galloway, N.J., 39-3473 (bogeyed sixth extra hole); Chuck Ebner, CC Maryland, 34-3973 (bogeyed second extra hole). After both bogeyed the first extra hole, Howard Derrick, Andrews AFB, 36-3773, won a separate playoff for fourth alternate from a-Henry Kerfoot, Washington Golf, 35-38--73.

Other selected scorers: a-Michael Sanger, Green Spring, 74; a-Dave King, Bethesda, 74; a-Ned Pugh, Bethesda, 75; Barry Fuhrman, Woodholme, 76; a-John Saunders, Jr., Hobbit's Glen, 76; Gordon Chavis, Randallstown, 78; a-Michael Blum, Diamond Ridge, 78.

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