Druzgala finally wins Md. stroke play title

Three-time runner-up edges two teen-agers

July 05, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Adrian Druzgala finally struck gold, as he charged through the back nine to a dramatic, one-stroke victory in the 32nd annual Maryland Amateur Stroke Play championship yesterday.

At the start of the hot, humid final round at Mount Pleasant Golf Course, there were eight players within four shots of leader Bart DeLuca, but when it was over, Druzgala's 72 led the pack, producing a 54-hole total of 215.

In striking a blow for the middle-aged, Druzgala, 47, who had been thwarted with three seconds among a bunch of top-10 finishes in this event over the last dozen years, had to turn back bids by two talented teen-agers.

DeLuca, 18, from Rolling Road Golf Club, the first- and second-round leader, was not out of the lead until No. 14, where he drove out of bounds, then got up and down from a bunker for a double-bogey six. He wound up tied for second with 75216.

Steve Colnitis, 16, in the event for the first time, played like a veteran. One off the pace, he started bogey-bogey, then was poised enough to come back with 35 on the back nine for 74-216, and a share of second.

The outcome was in doubt until DeLuca missed an 18-foot bid for a birdie and a tie on the 18th green. He had given himself a chance by cutting the corner of the uphill dogleg hole to short of the green in the left rough.

Druzgala and Colnitis had long birdie putts on the 18th green, but DeLuca could not take advantage of the opening as his pitch shot veered off left of the hole.

After Druzgala rolled his 20-footer almost to the lip of the cup, he went over by the edge of the green, squatted down and bowed his head. "It's very emotional to finally win," he said later. "When I birdied 12 and 13 [20 and 15 feet, respectively], I had tears in my eyes. I told myself just to be patient."

Where DeLuca doubled 15, Druzgala made bogey from a hazard to go one in front. He made it two with a five-foot birdie putt on 16. Druzgala missed the 17th green left, and when he failed to get down in two on the par-3 hole, the gap was one.

First-day co-leader Kevin Moylan, 41, from Argyle CC, was in contention, but couldn't make anything happen. He had 15 pars in finishing 74217.

The leaders: Adrian Druzgala, 73-70-72215; Bart DeLuca, 69-72-75216; Steve Colnitis, 70-72-74216; Kevin Moylan, 69-74-74217; Jim Winner, 72-72-73217; Kenny Doerrer, 72-74-72218; Gary Mankulish Jr., 77-72-70219; Larry Storck, 74-75-70219; Tom Eisenacher, 74-72-73219; Kirk Lombardi, 71-72-77220; Wes Lovell, 74-70-76220; Mike Faraone, 73-73-76222; Derek Ausherman, 74-71-78223; Vertti Iso-Ahola, 76-73-74223; Jason Raivel, 76-75-73224; Ron Cruse, 80-71-73224; Sheldon Kalish, 72-78-74224; Michael Hudak, 76-74-74224; Joe Records, 75-74-75224; Tim Walko, 75-73-76224.

Pub Date: 7/05/99

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