Suburban Club's Evenson takes Mid-Atlantic PGA title

30-foot birdie on 18th clinches assistant $8,400

August 19, 1999|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

STERLING, Va. -- Mark Evenson used a valuable lesson learned last month as the focal point for what turned out to be a course-record 35-32--67, and a one-stroke triumph in the annual Middle Atlantic PGA championship at the Lowes Island Club yesterday.

Evenson, 32, an assistant professional at Baltimore's Suburban Club, knew he was tied for the lead playing the final hole. He was just trying to get his 30-foot uphill putt close, when it fell in for a birdie.

The 7-under-par round wrapped up a 54-hole total of 72-68-67--207 and a check for $8,400 from the record $56,000 purse.

Steve Madsen, head pro at Lakewood Country Club, and the 1996 Maryland Open winner, had four birdies for 68-208 and a tie with Dennis Winters, an assistant at Bethesda's Columbia Country Club, 69-208. Wayne DeFrancesco, teaching pro from Woodholme Country Club, was fourth, 68-209, among the 72 players.

"Three weeks ago, in the Assistants' championship, I made the mistake of asking where I stood in the final round and found out I was the leader with five holes to play," Evenson said. "I was four under and knew Wayne [DeFrancesco] was playing well right in front of me.

"I let it get to me -- bogeyed four holes coming in and tied for second. Wayne won by three. This time, I told an official I did not want to know where I stood, although he was getting up-to-date reports. I finally asked on the 18th tee. I thought I was one behind, but I was actually tied for the lead.

"I had 157 yards to the pin for my second shot and hit 7-iron. I just wanted to get the ball on the green and wanted to two-putt. If Steve made his, so be it. If not, playoff.

"As it turned out, he had the same putt in a practice round and noticed it broke a little right. He admitted jabbing at the ball, but it had good speed, hit the hole, and fell in.

"I finished strong and didn't give anything away," the champion said. He had won the Tournament of Champions last fall, so knew he could win against a strong field. "To me, winning the section championship validates my situation. I've proven to myself I can win."

At various times, six players had at least a share of the lead. Second-round pacesetter Rick Schuller, from River Creek, slipped early, and Washington Golf & Country Club's Rob Ferguson, who appeared in command after an eagle-2 at the 11th, doubled the par-3 15th and bogeyed the 16th.

Winters, even for the day and five under for the tournament through No. 12, birdied three of the next four to tie for the lead, then missed a 5-footer at 17 and saw a 20-foot birdie bid slow down and fall away from the cup on the 18th green.

Madsen, playing in the same group with Evenson, birdied the 14th and 16th holes to get to eight under, but that was it.

Evenson felt he jump-started his round when he holed a sharply-breaking 25-foot birdie putt at the 13th. At the 189-yard, par-3 15th, with Madsen in about 5 feet, the Baltimorean struck a 3-iron shot to 2 feet and made the putt. Pars at 16 and 17 set up the finish.

Leaders

Mark Evenson 72-68-67207; Steve Madsen 70-70-68208; Dennis Winters 68-71-69208; Wayne DeFrancesco 72-69-68209; Rick Schuller 68-70-72210; Rob Ferguson 68-73-70; Rob McNamara 73-69-70212; Chip Sullivan 73-68-71212; David Newsom 73-72-68213; Mark Fry 74-70-71215; Bill Gombert 70-70-75215; John Stone 71-73-72216; Don Slebodnik 75-69-72216.

Dirk Schultz 72-76-69217; Mark Holyfield 72-75-70217; Mark Guttenberg 69- 75-73217; David Hutsell 75-72-71218; Charles Briggs 69-75-74218; Richard White 71-79-69219; Matt Kayson 74-73-72219; Warren West 73-74-72219; Marty Johnson 76-70-73219; Russell Nielsen 74-72-73219; Bryan Koslosky 68-78-73219; John Madden 72-73-74219.

Concurrently, six-for-four playoff for final places in Eastern Regional of national club professional championship: Ricky Touma 69-79-72220; Steve Moreland 74-75-71220; Thomas Joyce Jr. 68-79-73220; Edward Coyle 76-70-74220. Alternates: Frank Ferguson 75-75-70220; Jeff Sprinkel 73-73-74220; Jon Corliss 72-78-71221; Jack Skilling 76-68-77221; Larry Ringer 73-75-73221. (All four qualifiers got in on the second hole).

Other selected scorers: John McNaney 73-78-71222; John Dodson 74-72-76222; Mark Spolarich 72-73-77222; Bernard Najar 74-76-73223; Roger Simpkins 72-75-76223; Mike Gebhard 75-76-73224; Norm Vacovsky 76-76-75227.

CORRECTION: Joey Crenshaw, winner of the 10-11 boys category in the annual Baltimore Municipal Golf junior event, was incorrectly identified in a recent article. The Sun regrets the error.

Pub Date: 8/19/99

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