Mike Occi rolls at Maryland Senior
ROCKVILLE, Md. (Sept. 13, 2013) -- Mike Occi, from Hobbit's Glen Golf Club in Columbia, posted rounds of 69-70--139, and won the 85th Seniors championship of the Maryland State Golf Association by six strokes at Manor Country Club in Rockville, September 12. It was his second win in the event following a victory in 2010, a tie for second in 2011, and a solo second in 2012.

"It's been a magical week," Occi said of helping Baltimore win the annual MSGA Baltimore-Washington Team Match last Saturday (September 7) ahead of his spread-eagling an elite field in the Seniors tournament. "I played solid golf and was happy with the way I played," reported the 58-year-old Clarksville resident. "This week was special because there were so many good players in the field."

There was a four-way tie for second place at 145 among Tom Grem, Hunt Valley GC; David Boynton, University of Maryland GC; Tim Sughrue, Prospect Bay CC, and Pat Tallent, the 2008 champion from Congressional CC, followed by Larry Storck, Hayfields CC, 146; Steve Ford, Caves Valley GC, 147, and Britt Sloan, Manor CC and Skip Tendall, Congressional CC, 148. Occi, who used an opening 69 that turned out to be the low round of the tournament, as a springboard to his championship. His second tour -- in hot, humid weather for a second straight day -- included two birdies, two bogeys on the front and two birdies and a double-bogey on the back. The birdies were at the 526-yard fourth (a chip and a putt) and a putt from the fringe on the par-3 fifth. On the back, he birdied 10 from six feet and 15 from three feet, then offset them with the double at 17, when a tree branch falling on his cart distracted him in mid-swing and he could not recover. The two front-side bogeys came after missed greens. The 139 equaled the tournament scoring record for 36 holes set by Marty West, of Columbia CC, last year. The format was increased from 18 to 36 holes in 2005. "The course is beautiful and in wonderful condition," declared Grem, whose 70 matched Occi's for the day's best. "These are the nicest greens I've played all year. It's just that they were difficult to read." Randall Pinckney, the course superintendent, has been sidelined with an injury and associate Brandon Rapp was responsible for preparing the course. Occi is the first to record consecutive victories in the event since Bobby Morris in 2006-2007. Prior to that, one has to go back to John Jankowski in1967-68 for a similar effort. Overall, Occi is the eighth player to record the feat in the tournament's history, dating back to 1929.

The champion collected 125 points for his win and now has 245 to head the Senior POY charge. Henry Blue, Green Spring VHC, is second, 210 points, trailed by Sughrue, 191 points. West, a two-time Senior champion, turned 65 in July, and took advantage of this distinction by winning the Super Seniors (65-over) crown with 75-79--154.

With the field reduced to the low 24 (and ties) scorers for the second day, 30 players at 78 and lower made the cut. Morris (75) also made the cut but was forced to withdraw because of illness.

ABOUT THE Maryland Senior Amateur

This tournament is open to male amateurs who are residents of Maryland or members of member clubs of the Maryland State Golf Association. Entrants must have reached their 55th birthday by the start of the tournament. The tournament will be 36 holes stroke play. The low 24 scores and ties will play a second 18 holes the following day.

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