Carneal, Connelly save state crowns

Boy, girl champs play sand shots to their favor


October 29, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FREDERICK - One short putt has haunted Northeast senior Brian Carneal for 12 months.

Carneal missed an eight-footer for par on the final hole that would have sent last year's Maryland State Golf Tournament into a playoff. Instead, he had to settle for a second-place tie.

But Carneal redeemed himself yesterday afternoon by getting up and down out of a bunker on the 18th hole to win the boys state golf title with a 4-under-par 68, edging Nick DeSimone of Liberty by one stroke at Clustered Spires Golf Course.

Carneal's three-foot tournament-winning putt on the final hole completed a Northeast sweep of the individual tournament. On the girls side, sophomore Stephanie Connelly won for the second straight season with a 2-over 74. She beat out Pikesville freshman Michelle Grilli and Christina Gonzalez of Great Mills by two strokes.

"I was on a mission today," Carneal said. "It makes it all the better, to lose last year by one stroke coming down the stretch, bogeying two of the last four holes. It makes this even greater. Plus I'm a senior. It's my last tournament. I figured I had to go out and do something."

The tournament, which ordinarily is a 36-hole, two-day event at the University of Maryland golf course, was relocated, delayed a week and shortened as a result of the Washington-area sniper shootings.

Both Carneal and Connelly turned the tournament in their favor with big shots out of the sand. Carneal trailed Francis Scott Key senior Raymond Sheedy by three strokes after 11 holes, but everything changed in a four-hole stretch. Carneal birdied the par-4 12th to move to 2-under, and Sheedy bogeyed to fall to 3-under.

On the par-5 15th, Sheedy bogeyed again to drop to 2-under moments before Carneal hit his third shot out of the sand trap to within one inch of the cup. The birdie gave Carneal his first lead of the day, which he solidified with another birdie on 17. Sheedy finished with a 2-under 70 to tie for third place.

"I lucked out on [15 and 18] that the balls didn't fly into the bunker," said Carneal, who missed the tournament one-round record by one shot. "They bounced in so I had great lies both times. If they would have flew in, most likely they would have plugged."

Connelly, who started her round on the 10th hole, saved par on 17 and 18 after hitting into the bunker on both holes. She then birdied the par-4 first hole to open a three-shot lead over Grilli, who bogeyed the first after firing a 38 on the back nine.

Connelly shot par on the next six holes before bogeying eight and nine to finish her round.

In the team competitions, Churchill of Montgomery County won the 4A-3A state title with a four-man score of 307. Liberty placed second with 318. Severna Park (325) finished fifth, C.M. Wright (337) placed sixth and Perry Hall (373) took eighth.

In the 2A-1A competition, J.M. Bennett of Wicomico County won the state title with a 319, nine shots better than Smithsburg of Washington County. Pikesville, the two-time defending 2A-1A state champion, tied Stephen Decatur of Worcester County for third with a 331. Catonsville (345) was seventh, and Francis Scott Key tied North Harford (347) for eighth.

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