Schultz, Gombert, Hudak share Maryland Open lead

Golf

July 11, 2000|By Kevin B. Howell | Kevin B. Howell,SUN STAFF

CHEVY CHASE - Three golfers shared the lead with a 2-under-par 68, while those who teed off later were forced to play on a wet course after an hour's rain delay at the 79th Maryland Open yesterday at Columbia Country Club.

Dirk Schultz, Bill Gombert and Michael Hudak each shot 68 to lead the field of 153. One group of three golfers will finish today at 7 a.m.

Schultz was in a familiar position at the top of the leader board. Schultz led last year's Open for two rounds before losing to Mike Mitchell. This year, Schultz is determined not to let the victory get away.

"I want to get my title that I let slip away. I felt like I gave it away last year," said Schultz, a professional at Beaver Creek Country Club in Hagerstown.

Schultz, 35, shot a 4-under 31 on the back nine after three-putting three holes on the front. He bogeyed the 15th, then recovered by birdieing the final three.

Gombert, a 33-year old professional from Reisterstown, had a difficult start, bogeying the first hole and shooting 3 over after six. Gombert recovered by hitting consecutive birdies on the seventh and eighth, then birdied Nos. 12, 13 and 17.

"The greens are pretty fast. You just have to keep the ball on the right side of the hole. Tomorrow I'll try to get aggressive on a couple of holes and pace myself," Gombert said.

Hudak, an amateur from Towson Country Club, shared the lead by splitting the course at 34 each. Steve Madsen from Lakewood Country Club and Wayne DeFrancesco from Woodholme Country Club rounded out the top five, one stroke behind at 69.

Mitchell, the defending champ playing on his home course, finished at 2-over 72. Last year, Mitchell shot a 66 in the first round. Though playing on a familiar course should make him more comfortable, Mitchell said it's a totally different course.

"The greens are faster and firmer than usual," said Mitchell, a senior at the University of Virginia. "When you're the defending champ, you have more pressure and expectations."

Mitchell birdied the fifth and 12th holes, both par-5s, but missed a lot of greens and scrambled for pars.

"The course will get harder, so I have to be patient and hit more greens," Mitchell said.

The cut was made at 78, leaving 87 players for the second round. Another cut will be made today, leaving 40 for the final round tomorrow.

Leaders: Michael Hudak, 68; Bill Gombert, 68; Dirk Schultz, 68; Wayne DeFrancesco, 69; Steve Madsen, 69; Keith Unikel, 70; Ben Brundred, 70; Ted Coon, 70; Dennis Winters, 70; Ricky Touma, 70; Pat Tallent, 70; James Winner, 72; Mike Mitchell, 72; David Hutsell, 72; Bryan Koslosky, 72; Michael Gebhard, 72; Allan Phillips, 73; Tom Lewandowski, 73; Samuel Corden, 73; Mark Evenson, 73.

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