Topping, Hastings capture State Amateur semifinals

Three lead 138-man field at Spring Publinx with 69s

June 13, 1999|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ROCKVILLE -- Clark Topping had to scramble late and Brad Hastings kept it together in the closing holes to register semifinal victories in the 78th Maryland State Amateur championship at Woodmont Country Club yesterday.

Topping thwarted 1994 champion Chuck Freedman, 1 up, in a pairing of Hobbit's Glen GC members, and Hastings (Hog Neck GC) stopped medalist Kenny Doerrer (CC at Woodmore), 2 and 1.

Topping, 21, a recent Seton Hall University graduate who plans on turning professional after today's final, admitted, "I scrambled, made a birdie here and there, and capitalized on his mistakes.

"My driver was a huge advantage, too, because I was hitting it past him [290-300 yards off the tee], and it definitely helps to hit second. Several times, I was thinking about going for the pin. He missed his, and I just went for the middle of the green."

Freedman, who had lost to his clubmate in the second round last year, just shook his head. "I wasn't hitting it solid, and he was killing it past me. I putted poorly all week and it finally caught up with me. I was lucky in the morning. I had it five feet on the first four holes and didn't make any of them, and ended with five three-putts."

In that morning match, he turned back Stu Strang, 3 and 2.

Topping defeated recent Naval Academy graduate Michael Albus, 1 up, in the morning match.

Hastings, a semifinal loser last year, was 1 down at the turn, but remained steady. He got even at the 12th, and went up with a superb 15-foot downhill breaking putt for birdie at the 15th.

Doerrer, 19, finally took himself out of it at the 17th with a tough shot from the rough that landed in the water short of the green. Hastings had previously reached the green.

"I felt I hit it solid and didn't make any mistakes," said Hastings, 22, a fifth-year senior at Coastal Carolina University and winner of the Big South Conference individual title. Doerrer, a junior at Winthrop College, had finished third.

"I've been hitting my long irons good, and that's paying off," he said. "Basically, I was going for fairways and greens."

Quarterfinals: Chuck Freedman d. Stu Strang, 3 and 2; Clark Topping d. Michael Albus, 1 up; Kenny Doerrer d. Rick Riddle, 4 and 2; Brad Hastings d. Chuck Ingram, 3 and 2.

Semifinals: Topping d. Freedman, 1 up; Hastings d. Doerrer, 2 and 1.

Spring Publinx

Drew Forrester, Tim Osgood and Jacen Martinez each shot 2-under-par 69s to share the first-round lead in a 138-man field at Clifton Park GC. The final round will be played today at Pine Ridge.

Lance Bajkowski, 18, had his first hole-in-one at the 160-yard 15th, hitting a 6-iron.

"The last three holes, I was just trying to settle down and stay calm," said the Calvert Hall graduate and Villa Julie student, who finished par-par-par for 37-33-70.

Leaders: Drew Forrester, 36-3369; Jacen Martinez, 37-3269; Tim Osgood, 38-3169; Lance Bajkowski 37-3370; Tim Elliott 39-3271; Walt Grabowski, 37-3471; Michael Blum, 35-3772; Kevin Campbell, 38-3472; Stephen Hersl, 39-3372; Bob Spicer, 37-3572; Grant Dupree, 36-3672.

Flights: First--Chris Baloga, 38-3573; Jeff Dwyer39-3574; Bob Edlund, 39-3574; Jim Hickey, 38-3674. Second--Joseph Bajkowski, 41-3677; Ron Bane, 39-3978; Martin Gibbs, 43-3578; Greg Klus, 40-3878. Third (net): Dick Bielski, 79-1762; Lewis Robertson, 79-1762; Bob Spangler, 83-1964; Robert Wittstadt, 84-2064.

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