Sullivan's 6-under start makes him Open target

Ex-PGA Tour player leads DeFrancesco by 3 shots

Golf

July 09, 2002|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Former PGA Tour member Chip Sullivan opened the 81st annual Maryland Open with a 6-under-par 66, securing a three-shot lead yesterday at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace.

Two-time champion Wayne DeFrancesco took advantage of an early tee time with a first round of 3-under 69. Ted Coon (University of Maryland Golf Course), the low amateur last year, shot 70, and was followed by 71s from professional Frank Ferguson (Montgomery CC) and amateur Matt Tengwall (Prospect Bay).

Defending champion Steve Madsen (Lakewood CC) and Bob Bilbo (Mid-Atlantic Golf), who, at 59, is the oldest in the 133-man field, were at 72, along with Robert Lenkey (Glenn Dale) and Eastern Shore amateurs Mitch Wyatt and Evan Hileman.

The cut fell at 80, and 88 players will start in the second round today. The low 40 and ties will play the final round tomorrow.

Playing in the event for the first time since the mid-1990s, Sullivan (Ashley Plantation in Roanoke, Va.) pointed to a 10-foot putt to save bogey at the fifth as his most helpful. He fell to 1-under, but he got the stroke back with a birdie at seven after hitting the flagstick, then eagled the 546-yard eighth. For his second shot, Sullivan hit 1-iron to the left of the green, then chipped in, flopping a 30-yard wedge shot over a bunker.

"It seemed that all my shots were the right distance, and I got them going in the right direction," Sullivan said.

DeFrancesco, the Open winner in 1994 and '95, produced a solid round on what he considered "a very testy course, and there is no place to cruise."

But DeFrancesco has been playing well. The teaching professional at Woodholme CC tied for eighth in defense of his National PGA Club Professional title last month. After playing the front nine even yesterday, he made four birdies and just one bogey coming back.

Coon, a 35-year-old engineer, played his last 13 holes 3-under. Two front-nine birdies were 20-foot putts. He also got up-and-down at the 18th, but his key hole might have been at No. 6, where Coon hit out of the hay left of a cart path. His 9-iron from 135 feet stopped 5 feet from the cup, and he made the birdie putt.

Mark Garner, a professional from Cedar Point, had the sixth hole in one of his career, hitting a 7-iron 155 yards at the 12th hole.

The leaders (a-amateur): Chip Sullivan 32-34-66; Wayne DeFrancesco 36-33-69; a-Ted Coon 35-35-70; Frank Ferguson 36-35-71; a-Matt Tengwall 36-35-71; Steve Madsen 37-35-72; Bob Bilbo 36-36-72; a-Mitch Wyatt 35-37-72; a-Evan Hileman 36-36-72; a-Robert Lenkey 36-36-72; Dirk Schultz 36-37-73; a-Andy Williams 38-35-73; Fran Rhodes 36-37-73; Jack Skilling 35-38-73; Ricky Touma 39-36-74; a-Dan Hoffman 38-36-74; a-Keith Janecek 39-35-74; a-Dave Rasley 37-37-74; Pat Coyner 37-37-74; Joe Franz 38-36-74; Bill Rislove 35-39-74; Chrs Sheaffer 37-37-74; Dennis Winters 37-37-74; Bryan Armstrong 37-38-75; Mike Gebhard 41-34-75; Jim Estes 38-37-75; Brad Foxwell 38-37-75; Jason Goslee 38-37-75; Vance Welch 37-38-75; Brandon Post 36-39-75; Michael McGowan 39-36-75; Eugene Pleyo 37-38-75.

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