Hobbit's Glen's Druzgala ahead by four shots in Maryland Open 5-under-par 67 leads Lombardi, Winters

July 14, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Adrian Druzgala turned his career round, a 5-under-par 67, into a one-man show in the opening round of the 77th annual Maryland Open championship at Crofton Country Club yesterday.

Druzgala, a highly regarded area amateur out of Hobbit's Glen Golf Club in Columbia who has had limited success in this event, posted a bogey-free round of 33-3467 over the 6,798-yard, par 36-3672 course. At the end of the 13-hour day, this was good for a four-stroke lead on the 150-man field.

Kirk Lombardi, a former State Amateur titlist from Norbeck CC, and Dennis Winters, a Columbia CC assistant pro, and three-time runner-up in this tournament, were the only other ones to solve par, each checking in with 71.

With the field cut to the low 80 and ties, 80 players at 78 and better will play today. The low 40 and ties will play tomorrow's final round.

Of Druzgala's five birdie putts, two were from five feet, two were 15-footers, and one was a roller-coaster 40-footer. He saved par another time with a 15-foot putt. "It was good ball-striking and excellent putting," the leader said.

"My swing thought was to keep it simple, and the big thing has been learning not to get nervous when I get under par."

Druzgala has had trouble in the past in this respect, as his number of close but non-winning finishes will attest. He did, however, qualify once for the U.S. Amateur over the same course.

He had lost to Dave Rasley in the semifinals of the District Amateur on Saturday, so he had a day to rest, and said, "I came in with a really good attitude."

Rasley, who lost in the District final to Richard Holland, had played seven rounds the previous four days, and admitted he was tired after shooting 76.

Blair Laubach, from Mount Pleasant GC, had a hole-in-one, when he struck a 5-iron shot at the 170-yard 17th, but he finished with 80. Two others with more routine eagles did advance, however. Winters and Wayne DeFrancesco each hit the green of the 490-yard second hole with a 3-wood second shot and made the putt, Winters from 18 inches, and Woodholme CC's DeFrancesco from 20 feet.

Pub Date: 7/14/98

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