Schultz takes 1-shot Open lead

Beaver Creek pro fires 7-under 65 in first round

July 13, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There's nothing like winning to instill confidence in a good player.

Dirk Schultz, head professional at Beaver Creek Country Club in Hagerstown, showed that yesterday when he blistered Hillendale Country Club's 6,750-yard, par-72 course with 32-3365 to take a one-shot lead in the 78th Maryland Open championship.

In two earlier showings at the Phoenix site, Schultz had won the 27-hole Middle Atlantic PGA Northern Chapter championship with a 4-under-par total, and had been 4-under par on his own ball as Beaver Creek won the Maryland State team title.

Mike Mitchell challenged Schultz for the lead, dipping 7-under through 16 holes, then three-putted the 17th for bogey and 33-3366. "My putting was good, except for that hole, where I missed a four-footer," he said.

The Columbia Country Club member, who won the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur championship Sunday, saw Hillendale for the first time last week, when he played a practice round.

Playing the last half of his round in a steady drizzle, defending champion Keith Unikel, from the University of Maryland Golf Club, posted 35-3368. He had three birdies through eight holes, double-bogeyed the ninth, then ran in three more birdies on the back for his 4-under-par round.

Dean Wilson, the 1997 champion from Swan Point Yacht and Country Club, birdied 12, 13 and 14 en route to 36-3369, and later Danny Riskam, from TPC-Avenel, registered 69, followed by Charlie Briggs, Chip Richter and two-time champion Wayne DeFrancesco at 71.

Eighty two players survived the cut at 77 or better, and will play the second round today. The low 40 and ties will play the final round tomorrow.

"Those earlier rounds gave me all kinds of confidence for this tournament," said Schultz, 34, a former two-time top-5 finisher in the National Long Drive contest.

The Hagerstown resident used his length to set up birdies on all four of the par-5 holes, although the 539-yard first hole was anything but routine. Schultz drove into the left trees, punched a 7-iron shot across the fairway and nearly into the right trees, from where he hit a wedge shot to 12 feet and made the putt for birdie.

"I could only giggle walking off the green, and I told my playing partners I couldn't complain about anything the rest of the round."

Mitchell, 19, a junior at the University of Virginia, was nearly flawless as he missed only one green, and was able to keep his ball below the hole most of the round. "I needed to, because the greens are fast," he said.

Leaders: Dirk Schultz 32-3365; a-Mike Mitchell 33-3366; a-Keith Unikel 35-3368; Dean Wilson 36-3369; a-Danny Riskam 35-3469; Charlie Briggs 35-3671; Chip Richter 36-3571; Wayne DeFrancesco 37-3471; Dennis Winters 37-35-72; a-Larry Storck 35-3772; Tom Lewandowski 36-3672; a-Wes Gribas 37-3572; Bill Curtis 36-3672; Danny Lee 35-3772; a-Bart Mease 34-38-72; Larry Ringer 37-3572; Kevin Taylor 35-3772.

Ricky Touma 35-3873; Bill Gombert 38-3573; a-Joe Hoffman 38-3573; Jim Fitzgerald 35-3873; David Hutsell 37-3673; Jack Skilling 36-3773; a-Dave Rasley 37-3673; a-Tim Walko 36-3773; a-Chris Connolly 37-3673; a-Brad Hastings 37-3673; Scott Seymour 39-3473; a-Vertti Iso-Ahola 35-3873.

Bob Bilbo 37-3774; Bob Dolan 38-3674; Marty Johnson 38-3674; James Morris 37-3774; Mark Spolarich 38-3674; Russ Nielson 37-3774; a-Jim Castagna 37-3774; Glenn Barrett 37-3774; Bryan Kosloski 38-3674; a-Jaime Geilenkirchen 36-3874; Fred Ashby 37-3774; Ron Thomas 38-3674; Gary Mankulish Jr. 39-3574. a-amateur

Pub Date: 7/13/99

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