Sullivan captures Md. Open in playoff

Virginia pro takes title on 4th sudden-death hole

Golf

July 15, 2004|By Daniel Lyght | Daniel Lyght,SUN STAFF

MITCHELLVILLE -- The day was done. The top two golfers had apparently been decided. So Chip Sullivan began to pack his bags at the Country Club at Woodmore, ready to head home to Daleville, Va.

Then water started splashing and bushes started fluttering as leaders David Long and Bill Rislove sent their shots on No. 18 into the water and out of bounds. When the two finished, host professional Long had triple-bogeyed, shooting himself out of contention. Rislove double-bogeyed, putting himself into a three-way playoff with Sullivan and Dirk Schultz of Hagerstown, who was already driving home.

Then, on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff, Sullivan outlasted Schultz; Rislove, of Fairfax, Va.; and the weather to win the Open for the second time in three years.

"I'm still stunned," said Sullivan, the pro at Ashley Plantation Country Club, after the 83rd Maryland Open Championship was over. "I was getting ready to jump back in the car and head home thinking I had a decent tournament, a good finish and congratulations to David or Bill."

Minutes later, Sullivan was calling Schultz on his cell phone, telling him to turn around and head back to the club.

"Golf, I learned a long time ago, is more about handling losses and bad shots rather than having something go well for you," Sullivan said. "This is one of those nice experiences I need to cherish and enjoy, because they're few and far between."

After about an hour of weather delays, the playoff began on No. 10. Schultz (4-under-par on the day) made things interesting quickly, hitting his tee shot onto the adjacent No. 18 fairway. He was, however, able to get back into position for par.

The threesome then went to No. 18, where it became a twosome as Rislove (2-over for the day) pushed his ball left of the green. He bogeyed, unable to save par on an 8-foot putt.

Schultz and Sullivan (2-under on the day) both parred No. 10 the second time around and headed to No. 18, where both put their drives into the trees on the right side of the course, away from the water hazard. Schultz tried to draw his next shot around a tree in his line, but the shot found the water. A 25-foot putt for bogey dropped for Schultz, but it was too late as Sullivan tapped in for par and a $7,200 check.

Schultz, never a winner in the Open, cashed in for his fourth second-place finish but wasn't bitter. He joked afterward, "We just gotta get rid of these Virginia pros."

Long and Rislove came into the final round yesterday locked at 2-under and, after several birdies and bogeys throughout the day, were still 2-under after 17 holes. Both struggled mightily on No. 18, though, with Long hitting his ball twice into the lake and Rislove hitting a shot out of bounds. All Rislove needed to do was keep his ball in play, but he couldn't.

"Bill had a two-shot lead and hit his worst shot all day after birdieing 17," Moose Brown, who was in Rislove's group, said. "It's surprising."

Long, the host professional, could have forced his way into the playoff with a 10-foot putt, but the ball went right around the edge, leaving Long to bend over and grab his knees.

"You feel for a guy playing in front of his home members and employees," said Brown, who tied for ninth. "It's very disappointing for him."

Maryland Open

Final round, par 72

Bill Rislove, 72-68-73--213

Dirk Schultz, 70-76-67--213

Chip Sullivan, 73-71-69--213

David Long, 70-70-74--214

Wayne DeFrancesco, 73-72-70--215

Mark Evenson, 76-67-72--215

Chuck Freedman, 73-70-72--215

Russ Nielsen, 69-73-73--215

Moose Brown, 69-72-75--216

Phillip Fenstermaker, 77-69-70--216

Gary Mankulish Jr., 72-73-71--216

Chuck Ingram, 75-71-71-217

Steve Madsen, 74-74-69--217

Jeff Castle, 74-74-69--217

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