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Glenelg's Segrist captures state golf championship in playoff

Following last year's state championships, Glenelg's Steven Segrist stood off to the side and watched as his good friend — Marriotts Ridge's Bennett Buch — posed for pictures with the championship trophy.

He clapped, smiled and congratulated Buch, feeling genuinely happy that one of his childhood friends had captured the state's top honor. But it was in that moment as the cameras flashed, that Segrist also made a pact with himself to do everything he could to make sure he too got himself a moment just like that.

And on Wednesday afternoon, following the final round of this year's state championship tournament at the University of Maryland Golf Course, Segrist delivered on that promise.

With a two-day total of 146, the Glenelg junior earned a spot in a playoff against Wootton's Justin Feldman and then proceeded to outlast him on the first extra hole to secure this year's boys title.

"I definitely remember thinking after last year that (Bennett) had set the mark for where I wanted to be," Segrist said. "I knew if I worked hard, I could do this and this has been my goal. Luckily, everything kind of came together and I guess I really kind of did very similar to what he did."

Just like Buch did last year, Segrist arrived at states this fall fresh off winning the District V title and that momentum seemed to stick with him throughout the week. He found himself within a couple shots of the lead the entire way and continually delivered in pressure situations.

Segrist, who came to the final hole of regulation in a three-way tie for first with Feldman and Churchill's Luke Schaap, was seemingly in trouble after his approach shot ended up 20 yards short of the green on 18.

But he calmly stepped up and delivered his chip shot to within three feet of the hole.

"It wasn't an easy chip and I really hadn't put myself in a good position, but I knew that was the tournament right there," Segrist said. "I had to hit a good chip like I did or I was going to lose."

Making the ensuing putt, Segrist matched the par posted by Feldman to create a tie. Schaap, however, made bogey and ended up a shot short and alone in third place.

It didn't take long once the playoff began for Segrist to get the upper hand. After hitting his tee shot into prime position just off the fairway, Segrist watched Feldman pull-hook his drive out-of-bounds left.

Feldman then hit his third shot left as well and it was suddenly Segrist's tournament to lose.

"I knew at that point all I had to do was play safe, not do anything stupid and I was going to win," Segrist said. "I really tried to focus on not getting caught up in the mistakes he was making."

Segrist eventually holed out a short putt to edge Feldman by one and raise the championship trophy.

"I've never been in a position like this before, so all you can do is focus on the positives and learn from the mistakes," Feldman said. "I just made a bad swing at the wrong time and it cost me."

Following the round, Segrist had a chance to reflect on the week and remarked at just how unusual his road to the title was. He had managed to go two entire rounds without a birdie and yet it was still enough to win.

"My game plan all week was to just keep the ball in front of me on the fairways and on the green," said Segrist, who did make an eagle on his 16th hole during the opening round. "The way the conditions were this week, I knew if I just made as many pars as I could I was going to be right there."

As for the rest of the county, Buch had seen his hopes of potentially repeating as champion this fall all but dashed following an opening-round 79 that left him six shots behind the leaders. He did recover to play better on the second day, firing a 74 to finish at 153 and tied for eighth.

Buch's teammate Nick Mejia joined him at 153, as did Glenelg's Young Lee.

The county's other top 20 boys finishers were Marriotts Ridge's Michael Dorsch (tied for 14th, 157), who was playing in the tournament as an individual, and Atholton's Max Rosenthal (tied for 18th, 158).

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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