Gonzalez ends Connelly's two-year run

Northeast junior loses girls competition by shot

Class 4A-3A state golf championship

October 22, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK - At the end of yesterday's Class 4A-3A state championship tournament, Northeast's Stephanie Connelly found herself in an unfamiliar position.

Second place.

The junior had won the Anne Arundel County, district and state tournaments in her first two years. Connelly then won the county and district titles again this fall and had never lost to another girl during her career. But Chrissy Gonzalez of Great Mills ended the streak by shooting an even-par 71 for a one-shot victory over Connelly on the University of Maryland's course.

Connelly made two birdies but battled with her putter throughout en route to her 72. In fact, she missed an 8-foot putt for par on the final hole that opened the door for Gonzalez. The Great Mills senior then sank her 3-foot par putt to win the girls title.

"I just wasn't making any putts, nothing fell," Connelly said. "I had a lot of birdie putts that were close but didn't go in. It just wasn't my day."

Gonzalez had waited a long time for her day against Connelly. The two played against each other for about five years, and Gonzalez didn't win until yesterday on the par-71 course.

They fought back and forth with the turning point likely coming when Gonzalez got an eagle on the par-5 13th hole. Trailing by two shots, Gonzalez used a 7-wood from 180 yards and sent a perfect approach on her second shot that rolled to within 3 feet of the hole. She then sank the short putt to pull into a tie with Connelly.

"That was the shot of the day for [me]," Gonzalez said. "It's such an accomplishment for me because I've worked so hard over the last couple of years."

Julia Huh of Northeast (74), Severna Park's Morgan Reich (77) and Dulaney's Marlowe Boukis (79) took third, fourth and fifth overall for the girls.

La Plata's Joe Gross had to work overtime to win the boys state title for the second time in three years. Gross made a birdie on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff to beat Sherwood's Chas Golibart after both shot 1-under 70.

Gross, a junior, won the title two years ago as a freshman before tying for ninth place last fall. But his 15-foot birdie on the par-4 10th hole - the first hole of sudden-death - gave him the victory as Golibart missed his birdie putt.

"I thought I'd be OK with what I shot in the round," Gross said. "This is something I really wanted to do."

Durke Phillips of Old Mill was the highest local finisher, tying Ryan Wielgus of team champion Churchill for third place with a 1-over 72.

Broadneck's Chip Hardie was fifth with a 73 while Severna Park's David Murnane and Centennial's David Lingeman were part of a six-way tie at 74.

Murnane could have joined Gross and Golibart in the playoff with a birdie on his final hole. However, the senior ran into trouble when his tee shot on the par-4 hole landed by a cart path and rolled into the trees. Murnane tried to hook a 5-iron around a tree, but the shot hit a tree root, popped up into the air and ended any chance for a birdie.

"I had a shot at it," Murnane said. "I knew what I had to do."

Churchill won the team championship with a score of 303, beating La Plata (311) and Walter Johnson (315). Severna Park was the top local finisher in fourth place (322). Bel Air (327) took fifth place, Dulaney (334) was eighth and Franklin (343) ninth.

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