Mitchell's big rally wins Md. Open

19-year-old tops Schultz, who loses 5-stroke lead

July 15, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mike Mitchell overcame two-day leader Dirk Schultz's five-shot advantage in the first eight holes and went on to capture the 78th annual Maryland Open yesterday.

Mitchell, 19, an amateur from Chevy Chase's Columbia Country Club, finished with a 3-under-par 69, the day's low round, and a 54-hole total of 205 at Hillendale Country Club.

Schultz, 34, head professional at Hagerstown's Beaver Creek Country Club, finished three back with 77-208 on a day that saw both golfers birdie the first hole.

But Mitchell birdied two more of the next seven holes. He also got help from Schultz, who included two three-putt greens in a four-hole stretch that saw him record three bogeys and a double-bogey.

"The [par-4] fourth hole set the tone," Mitchell said. "My 9-iron shot to the green plugged in a bunker, and the sand shot squirted out to the back of the green. Looking at a 50-foot, downhill putt with about 20 feet of break, I was just trying to get out of there with a bogey."

His putt found the cup.

Mitchell took the lead by a stroke on the eighth hole, pitching down to 2 feet and confidently rolling in a birdie putt.

He dropped into a tie with a bogey at the 11th but righted the situation with birdies at the 12th and 13th and a winning par at the 14th.

Schultz cut the margin to two strokes with a birdie at the par-3 15th but could get no closer.

"Totally the putter," said Schultz, a long-hitting, 6-foot-7, 250-pound player. "I had two 6-foot putts for birdies at 2 and 3 that would have made my whole day. Then he makes that downhill 50-footer, and my mind wouldn't let me catch up."

Of the ninth, where he overshot the green and made bogey to match one by Mitchell, Schultz said, "At the time, I thought I could get it done if I got back to even with him at that point."

Mitchell is a University of Virginia junior who won the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur championship last Sunday by diving 10 under par for the necessary 32 holes.

He said he began yesterday's round hoping "to keep playing the way I had been. I felt if I could put some pressure on [Schultz], something might happen. And I made a lot of putts."

Defending champion Keith Unikel, an amateur from the University of Maryland Golf Club, was third with 71-211, followed by Dennis Winters, a three-time runner-up in the event, and Danny Lee, at 213.

Two-time champion Larry Ringer, who tied for 23rd in last week's U.S. Senior Open and at 53 was the oldest player to make the final cut, was alone in sixth at 215.

a-Mike Mitchell, 66-70-69--205; Dirk Schultz, 65-66-77--208; a-Keith Unikel, 68-72-71--211; Danny Lee, 72-69-72--213; Dennis Winters, 72-69-72--213; Larry Ringer, 72-69-74--215; a-Kirk Lombardi, 75-70-71--216; Dean Wilson 69-73-74-- 216; a-Jaime Geilenkirchen, 74-74-70--218; Jack Skilling, 73-72-73--218; Chip Richter, 71-76-73--220; Charlie Briggs 71-74-75--220; a-Gary Mankulish, Jr., 74-71-75--220; Bill Curtis, 72-77-72--221; Mark Spolarich 74-74-73--221; Ricky Touma, 73-74-74--221;Chris Connolly, 73-72-76--221; a-Danny Riskam, 69-74-78--221; Mark Evenson, 76-73-73--222; Marty Johnson, 74-75-73--222; a-Larry Storck, 72-76-74--222; Bill Gombert, 73-74-75--222.

a-Joe Hoffman, 73-76-74--223; David Hutsell, 73-76-74--223; Don Slebodnik, 76-71-76--223; Tom Lewandowski, 72-74-78--224; a-Tim Walko, 73-77-75--225; Russ Nielson 74-74-77--225; a-Jim Castagna, 74-74-77--225; a-Bart Mease, 72-75-78-- 25; Bob Dolan, 74-73-78--225; Bob Bilbo, 74-73-78--225; a-Dan Hoffman, 75-73-78--226; a-Wes Gribas, 72-78-76--226; a-Vertti Iso-Ahola, 73-76-77--226; a-Nicu Nastase, 75-75-77--227; Adam Harrell, 75-75-78--228; Rob Ferguson, 75-75-79-- 229; a-Steve Block, 77-73-89--230; a-Brit Musser, 75-75-81--231; a-Ron Thomas, 74-74-86--234. (a-denotes amateur)

Pub Date: 7/15/99

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