Madsen beats FitzHugh on final hole Seven-foot birdie wins 75th Maryland Open

July 11, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

The 75th Maryland Open came down to a pair of seven-foot birdie putts from below the cup on the 18th green at Old South Country Club in Lothian yesterday. Steve Madsen watched as Woody FitzHugh's bid slid by on the right side, then put his ball right in the heart of the cup.

The birdie-four at the 533-yard closing hole gave Madsen a round of par 72, and a 54-hole championship total of 215. FitzHugh, who had carried a four-shot lead into the final round, ended with 77216.

Of the critical putts, Madsen, head professional at Lakewood Country Club, said, "I thought Woody would make his, and then I thought I had left mine short."

Both players said they weren't sure where they stood going to the last hole, and Madsen added, "Looking back, if I had known [earlier] I probably would have shanked a couple. I was just trying to hang in there."

Pin placements politely defined as extremely difficult by the players chewed up most of the field in the Maryland State Golf Association tournament. Don Slebodnik, from Night Hawk Golf Center, joined Madsen with the day's low score, a par 72 for the 6,723-yard course in southern Anne Arundel County. The overall stroke average was 78.2.

There were 40 players for the last round, but it became a two-man struggle on the back nine, as none of the others could make a challenging move.

Glen Barrett (73), the 1993 champion from Glenn Dale Golf Club, and Craig Gunn, from Danville (Va.) Golf Club (75), tied for third at 219, and it was another two strokes back to Jack Skilling (73), competing unattached, and 1994-95 titlist Wayne DeFrancesco (74), Woodholme Country Club.

Chris Connolly of the Chevy Chase Club birdied the first extra hole from two feet to defeat Pat Tallent, Congressional CC, for the low amateur prize. Connolly had returned 76223, and Tallent, who has finished 2-1-2 among the amateurs the last three years, 78223.

Madsen, who had tied for sixth a year ago in his first Open appearance, was five shots behind after 45 holes, but rallied with four birdies in the last eight holes, including one on a chip-in.

"I had not been in position to win for a long time, and I didn't handle it well," FitzHugh, head professional at Woody's Range in Herndon, Va., said. "I was fighting as hard as I could, but I didn't feel comfortable. I hit a lot of good shots, but he played better, and deserved to win."

Pub Date: 7/11/96

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