Tournament-record 131 propels Schultz to top of Maryland Open field

66 in 2nd round gives him 5-shot lead over Mitchell

July 14, 1999|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Dirk Schultz, playing the best golf of his life, put up the low score for the second straight day, and opened a five-stroke bulge on the field in the 78th annual Maryland Open at Hillendale Country Club yesterday.

Schultz eagled the par-5 18th to finish with a 6-under-par 66, and a 36-hole tournament-record 131.

The last-hole heroics thwarted a mid-nine rally by amateur Mike Mitchell, 19, from Columbia CC, who threw four successive birdies at the leader (Nos. 13-16). A bogey at 18 left him with 70136.

Defending champion Keith Unikel, who had opened with 68, one of five players in the 60s on Monday, returned a par-equaling 72 for 140.

Two-time winner Larry Ringer, fresh from a top-25 finish in the U.S. Senior Open, Danny Lee and Dennis Winters each had 69, and are tied at 141.

"I've never played better than this in my life," said Schultz, head professional at Beaver Creek CC.

"That's the lowest two-day total I've ever had." In setting the 36-hole record, he eclipsed the standard of 133, set by Bob Boyd in 1991, when he shot 71-62, then closed with 64 for a record 54-hole tally of 197.

With the field cut to the low 40 and ties, 41 players at 150 and better will play today's final round.

The leaders: Dirk Schultz 65-66131; a-Mike Mitchell 66-70136; a-Keith Unikel 68-72140; Larry Ringer 72-69141; Danny Lee 72-69141; Dennis Winters 72-69141; Dean Wilson 69-73142; a-Danny Riskam 69-74143. (a-amateur)

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