Eric Egloff, a veteran touring pro from Sandy Spring, broke away from a tie for the lead in the final five holes and captured the 16th Maryland State Senior Open Championship with rounds of 69-68--137 over the East Course at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, October 14.
At the start of the final round in the 36-hole event, a playoff seemed inevitable, with four players tied for the lead at 69, followed by one at 70, three at 71, and three at 72. As it developed, it never happened, although it was a lot closer than the final standings might indicate.
In sharp contrast, Michael Kelly, 63, from Odenton and Lake Presidential GC, turned the Super Senior (60-over) into a runaway with scores of 70-71--141. George Washburn, New Market and Holly Hills CC, was second with 73-75--148. "I was all right as long as I didn't hit to four feet," said Kelly, who birdied three of the four par-5's, and, "made the 10-15-foooters, but missed so many four-five-footers. I hadn't been finishing well, so was glad to do it this time."
Egloff, who turned 50 within the past year to become eligible for the tournament, had company all the way and the outcome was not decided until Egloff birdied the par-5 18th and Sughrue, an amateur and the defending champion from Arlington, Va., and Bethesda Country Club, bogeyed.
As for the other two who shared the lead, John Howson, a three-time winner of the event, from Sparks and Pine Ridge GC, was level with Egloff and Sughrue through 13, took a mind-boggling 9 on the par 5 14th, and finished with 77-146, while Pete DeTemple, from California in Southern Maryland and Breton Bay G&CC, struggled to 69-73--142, and a tie for third.
The back-and-forth between Egloff and Sughrue produced plenty of excitement as no more than one hole separated the two except for one hole on the front where Egloff birdied to lead by two but gave it right back at the next hole. The ninth hole, a 460-yard, par-5, turned out to be the feature attraction, Egloff hit a 5-iron second shot to eight feet and Sughrue promptly put one inside of that at three feet. Each made the putt to halve in eagles.
After 13 holes, Egloff, Sughrue, and Howson were tied at 4 under par for the tournament. Howson, in the next-to-last group, took himself out of it with a lost tee shot, three shots to reach the green and three putts.
Behind him, Sughrue birdied to forge his share of the tie at 13. Then the action got intense as Egloff birdied 14 from six feet; Sughrue tied him with a birdie at 15. Egloff came right back with a birdie from seven feet to go ahead at 16. They halved 17 in pars and the climactic 500-yard 18th saw Egloff hit the green on the par 5 in two and two-putt for birdie, while Sughrue made bogey.
"I was just trying to keep it together, said Egloff who has been sidelined in recent months with tendinitis, and admitted this was the best he had felt in a long time. "It's tough to play in pain, though, and it's still there," Whether he tries to qualify for the Senior Tour next month (he's been trying to Monday qualify and made it once) will depend on his pain quotient.
DeTemple tied Tim Lewis, a pro from Kempsville Greens GC in Virginia Beach, Va., (72-70) for third place, in the 88-player field sunny but cool and windy day, trailed by Vance Welch, a Hobbit's Glen GC amateur, at 71-72--143; amateur Tim Dilli, Baltimore CC, 71-73--144, and pro Marty Johnson, from RedGate GC, 73-72--145.
View results for Maryland Senior Open Golf Championship