A year ago David Hutsell used a two-hole playoff to record his biggest golf tournament win ever in the 2011 PGA Professional National Championship in Hershey, Pa.
This week, the Havre de Grace native and PGA director of instruction at Elkridge Club in Baltimore, closed out play in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship in Seaside, Calif., on the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses.
Hutsell shot a final round of 75 Wednesday to finish the event plus-7, 20 strokes off the pace set by first-time event player and 2012 champion Matt Dobyns of New York. Dobyns, the only player to shoot under par in all four rounds, finished at 13-under, eight strokes better than the runner-ups.
"I'm not too disappointed where I ended up," Hutsell said, in reference to his overall play this year heading into the tournament. "I felt pretty good getting into the position I did, giving myself a chance."
That chance was a top 20-finish that guarantees a spot in this year's PGA Championship, set for August at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Hutsell's finish was four strokes off the mark of plus-3, where eight players were forced into a playoff for one remaining spot. Hutsell was tied for 40th with nine other players.
Hutsell's final round was riddled by five bogeys, including back-to-backs at holes 12 and 13 and holes 16 and 17. Hutsell birdied hole 10 and then closed the round on a high note, making birdie at the 18th.
"I hit the ball a lot better today, I just couldn't make anything," Hutsell said of the final round. "Tuesday I was struggling to make pars, but I made a lot of ups and downs."
Hutsell put himself in a tough situation after an even par first round of 72 on Sunday and then back-to-back rounds of 74 to sit at plus four through three rounds. In Tuesday's third round, Hutsell bogeyed the fifth and seventh holes, but parred the other 16.
Hutsell had entered the third round in a tie for 33rd place, 10 strokes behind the two-day leader, Dobyns, who shot back-to-back rounds of 66 to take a three stroke lead over the entire 77-player field who made the cut. Dobyns extended his lead in the third round to six, with a spectacular finish that included a hole-in-one on the 14th hole and an eagle on the par five 18th hole.
Hutsell double bogeyed the second hole at Bayonet Monday and that stood out in his over par round. Hutsell also bogeyed holes 6 and 12, but rallied with birdies at holes 7 and 14.
"I think more than anything I need to drive a bit better, keeping the ball in the fairways," Hutsell said in an overall view of his play. "It makes for a long day when you're not."
In Sunday's first round, Hutsell needed a late round birdie to finish at even par. His final birdie of three on the day came on the par five, eighth hole at the Black Horse course. It was Hutsell's 17th hole after starting his round on the 10th tee.
Hutsell will be in Maryland State Open action next month to defend a title as well. Hutsell 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.
Hutsell, who was to return home Thursday, will be back on the tournament circuit next week, leaving Sunday for West Virginia and the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic. The event is one that Hutsell earned an exemption into for winning the PGA Professional National Championship last year. The Greenbrier Classic will be played July 5 to 8.
Hutsell was also member of the victorious 2011 U.S. PGA Cup Team and capped his memorable 2011 season by earning the PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.