BALTIMORE, Md. (Oct. 14, 2014) — Amateur Matt Sughrue, from Bethesda Country Club, his Maryland Senior Open lead sliced to a single shot going to the last hole, retained control with an "all-world" birdie on the 18th hole to win the 15th championship of the Maryland State Golf Association event, defeating professional Terry Burke, the Burning Tree Club, with rounds of 66-71--137.
Burke finished 68-71--139. The Elkridge Club course in Baltimore was played at 6,244 yards to a par of 35-35--70.
Off the tee of the 590-yard, par-5 closing hole, Sughrue's ball hit a tree and caromed wide right. He could advance his second shot only about 75 yards to the fairway, leaving him 230 to flagstick. "My best 4-iron -- ever," Sughrue said of the shot that reached the green and stopped five feet from the cup.
Holding a two-stroke lead at the start, Sughrue reached the turn in 37 after a birdie and three bogeys, including a three-putt. Burke overcame his deficit by following a bogey with successive birdies at Nos. 4-5 to get to 3 under. Sughrue's bogey at the ninth dropped him back to 2 under.
Sughrue holed a 40-foot birdie putt at the 13th and bogeyed the17th from a bunker ahead of his dramatic finish. Burke could not totally offset four back-nine bogeys, although he did get close with birdies at the 284-yard 14th and one at the 180-yard 17th that produced a two-shot swing. It ended when he parred the 18th for 34-37 against the leader's 37-34. "The bogeys killed me," Burke said of his last nine.
At the other end of the spectrum, Sughrue, 55, would say, "My biggest win ever." Over the years, the Arlington, Va., resident has collected six Bethesda club championships and has qualified for 13 USGA championships, most recently the Senior Open in 2013. While considering himself a late bloomer, Sughrue cited Columbia CC head professional Bob Dolan for his teaching help and Bethesda pro Pat Bedingfield, an invaluable aid as a caddy.
Perennial pro contender Rick Schuller, from Prince George, Va., never mounted a challenge, finishing with a birdie and a bogey on each nine for 70-70--140. Pros Jim Estes, from Olney Golf Park, and Ricky Touma, the Burning Tree Club, shared fourth at 142, followed by pro John Francisco, Piney Branch GC, the defending champion, and amateur Pete DeTemple, Cedar Point GC, at 144.
Amateurs Joe Lefavor, Naval Academy Gc; Lee Flemister, University of Maryland CC, and Mike Occi, Hobbit's Glen GC, ted at 144 to round out the top 10. Occi tied Francisco for low second round with a 69, highlighted by an eagle-2 at the 297-yard fifth where he sank a 99-yard wedge shot.
View results for Maryland Senior Open Golf Championship