For the second time in a month, David Hutsell teed up his ball as defending champion Monday at the 91st Maryland Open, the state's top golf tournament for professionals and amateurs. This year's tournament is being contested at Old South Country Club in Lothian.
Hutsell, a Havre de Grace native and teaching professional at the Elkridge Club, rallied with a closing course-record 65 last year, thanks to a birdie-eagle-eagle-birdie front nine stretch to win at Maryland Golf and Country Clubs.
In Monday's first round, Hutsell shot two-under par 70, three strokes off leader Chip Sullivan's round of 67. Hutsell made four birdies, but also had back-to-back bogeys on holes 14 and 15. Through 13 holes, Hutsell was three-under.
"It was frustrating to mess up those two holes," Hutsell said. "All in all it was a decent day."
On 14 (par 3) it was a poor tee shot, but a 10-foot putt to save bogey ilmited the damage. On 15 (par 4), it was the second shot that led to another 10-foot putt, but this putt for par lipped out, leaving a bogey.
At two-under, Hutsell was in a tie for sixth with seven others. Three others shot four-under and one shot three-under.
"I look for simliar scoring Tuesday and Wednesday," Hutsell, said, adding that he didn't think the course would change much unless it got real windy. "I think you might need double digits to win."
Second round play was to continue Tuesday and the field of 119 players will be cut to top 40 and ties for Wednesday's final round. "I think my chances are pretty good," Hutsell said, in reference to a repeat. "A lot of guys can say they left some strokes out there, but I left a few birdie putts short."
In addition to Hutsell, four others with connections to Harford County were also in action Monday - Serge Hogg, Jerod Wilks and John Howson of Mountan Branch Golf Course and Chris Demetrakis of Winters Run Golf Club.
Howson had the best opening round of 73, making three birdies and four bogeys. Howson was tied for 35th. Demetrakis and Wilks both shot 74. Demetrakis, the only local to start on hole 10, was even on the back nine. He finished with three birdies and five bogeys.
Wilks finished with one birdie and three bogeys. Both were tied for 47th.
Hogg had a solid first nine, sitting at three-under, but a triple bogey on hole 10 led to a seven-over par back nine. Hogg was tied for 75th.
Hutsell plays on tour event
For Hutsell, who won exemption into as many as six PGA Tournaments this year, this was his third event. Hutsell earned the exemptions based on his winning the 2011 PGA Professional National Championship in Hershey, Pa., last June.
Hutsell had a rough first round Thursday, shooting 81, 11 strokes over par. Eight bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey littered the scorecard. Hutsell did make two birdies on holes 10 and 14, both par 4's.
"It was just one of those days the bogeys piled up," Hutsell said. While scores were not as high as Hutsell's, some of the PGA's best, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, also missed the cut. "I think that's a testament to the golf course," Hutsell said. "It was fun and it was challenging."
Hutsell fared much better in Friday's second round, shooting 74, just four strokes over par. Hutsell did have five bogeys and a triple bogey, but countered most of those with four birdies and eight pars.
"Second day I was a little sharper with my irons. My iron play was not sharp the first day," Hutsell said.