Young-gun Hastings emerges as top amateur

He's first Md. State champ from the Eastern Shore

June 14, 1999|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Brad Hastings, a 21-year-old college student from Easton, became the first Maryland State Amateur champion from the Eastern Shore when he won the 78th event, beating Clark Topping of Columbia, 6 and 5, yesterday in their scheduled 36-hole final at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville.

In the youngest title-round pairing in recent years, Hastings, a semifinalist a year ago, was never behind against Topping, 22, a recent graduate of Seton Hall.

The eventual winner was 4-up at the break, and after the two divided six birdies in the first seven holes in the afternoon, the margin held. From there, Hastings applied enough pressure until his opponent ran out of holes.

"Huge," was the assessment of Hastings' winning par-4 at the 439-yard ninth hole in the afternoon. The fifth-year senior at Coastal Carolina, who plays out of Hog Neck Golf Course, was in position to lose the hole but instead increased his lead to five.

Both missed the green. Hastings came out of a bunker to 18 feet, and Topping pitched from the left rough to six feet. "I misclubbed on the second shot," Hastings said. " On the green, I figured he'd make and if I missed "

He didn't, rolling the ball right into the cup. Facing a curler, Topping slid the ball tentatively past.

"I struggled getting to the fairways -- was a little nervous, got a little quick," Hastings said. "However, I hit the irons well, and putted well enough. It was a matter of time till they went in."

All square after six holes in the morning, Hastings made a great save at the seventh, flopping a wedge shot over a bunker to tap-in range for a winning par.

"I'm satisfied," said Topping, who plays out of Patuxent Greens, and will turn professional today. "I didn't play well enough. I didn't capitalize on his mistakes, and he took advantage of mine."

Spring Publinx: Tim Osgood, away from golf for a couple of years, marked his return with a tournament victory, as he polished off a par-72 at Pine Ridge Golf Course, and won the event with a 36-hole total of 141.

Drew Forrester birdied the 16th to tie for the lead, then lost his tee shot on the par-3 17th. "I knew I had to make eagle at 18," he said of trying to take a tee shot over trees and eventually making bogey for 69-75144.

Stephen Hersl posted a more routine 72-72144, and in the playoff for overall tournament runner-up, Forrester earned the spot with a par at the first hole.

Championship: Tim Osgod, 69-72141; Drew Forrester, 69-75144; Stephen Hersl, 72-72144; Bob Lentz, 73-75148; Lance Bajkowski, 70-78148; Michael Blum, 72 -77149; Walt Grabowski, 71-78149; Charles Narciso, 77-72149; Bob Spicer, 72-78150; Tim Elliott, 71-79150; Jacen Martinez, 69-81150; Alvin Medlin, 73-77150.

Flight leaders: First: Michael Powers, 75-74149; Chris Baloga, 73-80153; Jeff Dwyer, 74- 79153; Pete Jahries 77-77154. Second: Greg Klus, 78-82160; Ed CcCleary 80-80160 (Klus won playoff); Brendan Shea, 80-83163; Martin Gibbs, 78-86164; A.J. Bachmann, 84-80164. Third (Handicap): Low gross--Ron Posey, 81-87168; Daniel Duff, 81-88169. Low net--Lewis Robertson, 169-34-135; Robert Wittstadt, 175-40-135 (Robertson won playoff).

Pub Date: 6/14/99

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