Rolling Road Golf Club member Kevin Grady, 35, continues to stack up hardware as he captured the 102nd Maryland Amateur Golf Championship on Sunday after four grueling days.
Grady, a Catonsville resident, defeated Lou Baker, 1-up, with a birdie on the final hole at Chartwell Golf and Country Club.
“It was a lot of golf, there was no doubt. I played 111 holes in four days,” Grady, a 2005 Century High graduate, said. “And that was with playing pretty well on Saturday, only having to play 27 holes.”
It was the first Maryland Amateur title for Grady, who has won four of the past five Maryland Mid-Amateur championships, three Rolling Road club championships and was second in the Maryland Open in 2021 when he was named Maryland State Golf Association Player of the Year.
The championship match was a topsy-turvy affair that started with Baker going 3-up after the first six holes, but Grady maintained his confidence.
“I was three down through six in the morning, but it’s a 36-hole final and there is so much golf to be played and I wasn’t really worried about it,” he said.
Grady’s long putt for birdie on No. 9 and birdies on 10 and 12 evened the match, and Grady won two of the final six holes to go 2-up at the break.
“I played well on the back and was able to end up two up after the morning 18 and we both just played really solid in the afternoon,” Grady said. “Neither of us were making a bunch of birdies, but we were making a bunch of pars.”
Baker battled back and took a 1-up lead through the 28th hole of the match.
“You are tired at that point, so you are not full of a bunch of energy, but Lou did hit it on the water on 11 [29th hole] which was obviously a bit of a turning point,” Grady said. “I was one down going into 11 and he hit it in the water, so I got it tied and then I won 14, which would have been hole 32 to go 1-up. Then he won 33 with a birdie and then we halved 16 and 17 and I birdied 18.”
Grady’s third shot on the par-5, 18th hole was the difference after his second shot went past the green.
“It was probably a 35-yard pitch shot and I hit it to about 3 feet,” he said.
Baker was also near the 18th green in two shots.
“He was about pin-high about 25 yards or so right of the flag and he hit his third shot and it got to the top of the hill, but not quite enough to get onto the green and it ended up coming back down to his feet and he got that up and down to make five and save par and made me have to hit my putt.”
Grady made that victory-clinching putt and enjoyed a modest celebration with his friends.
“I went back to Rolling Road with some of my buddies, there were probably throughout the day anywhere from 15 or 20 people from the club. So, seven or eight of us went back to the club and it really wasn’t anything crazy.”
Baker, a Timonium resident, is a member at the Baltimore Country Club and graduated from St. Paul’s in 2019 where he played on three Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship teams. He played collegiately at the University of Richmond, graduating in 2023.
Grady was seeded 24th in the 32-play field after qualifying for the tournament with a 1-over par 71.
In the first round of match play, he defeated No. 9 seed Luke Schaap, 2 & 1. He followed that with a 7 & 5 triumph over No. 25 David Nocar. In round three, he dominated No. 11 Dustin Stocksdale, 9 & 7, and he beat Eddie Coffren, 3 & 2, in the semifinals.
Grady’s pre-summer success also included a history-making first round, along with Rolling Road member and teammate Andrew Sovero, at the 8th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Golf Championship, held at Kiawah Island Club on May 20-24.
“We had a very good week that week, we tied the tournament scoring record in the first round, shooting 61, and ended up losing to the eventual champions in the round of 16,” Grady said.
Grady and Sovero lost to University of California, Berkeley rising seniors Aaron Du and Sampson Zheng, 3 & 2, after defeating Kihei Akina and Boston Bracken in the round of 32, 2 & 1.
Grady, who played at Division II University of South Carolina, Aiken from 2006-10, has been solid for several years and admits playing at Rolling Road has fueled that consistency.
“I joined Rolling Road in 2017 and that’s pretty much when things started to get a little bit better,” said Grady, whose next tournament will be the Maryland Open at Hillendale Country Club on July 10. “I’m lucky enough to have a job where I have some flexibility and can play in these tournaments and my bosses are comfortable with me being out on the golf course and allowing me to pursue a passion and I’m definitely very grateful for that.”