For the first time in years, a sizable number of tournament regulars were among the missing when the qualifying field was completed for the 74th annual Maryland State Amateur championship, which concludes today at Hillendale Country Club.
In their wake were some first-time starters and some irregulars who hadn't made appearances in several years. Of the final eight, only three had been there before -- past champions Kirk Lombardi and Dave Rasley, and Pat Tallent, last year's losing finalist.
Among the others were Bryan Koslosky, a U.S. Coast Guard boatswain's mate attached to the USCG station in Annapolis; businessman Mike Watson, and Alan Zimmerman, 21, an Old Dominion University senior, who entered last year when a Frederick Community College sophomore, then withdrew because of a conflict with the Junior College nationals.
Koslosky has been in Annapolis since February of last year, but his only outside tournament experience had been in the Maryland State team matches. A scratch player with a lot of playing experience while at a previous duty station in Hawaii, he shot 1-over-par 73 the first time he saw the Hillendale layout.
Watson, 27, had been in the qualifier 10 years ago while still a high school student, but that was followed by a college career at Stephen F. Austin and an 18-month stint trying to convince himself he could be a pro player. More recently he has been getting established as an insurance salesman.
Two others who used to play, got away from it due to business, and are now coming back are brothers Tim and Matt Sughrue, formerly of Bethesda CC who now play from Prospect Bay CC.
Tim, 39, played in his younger days, then got away from it as his responsibilities changed -- working his way to an executive position with the Lou Foehrkolb Co., a wholesale fish market in Jessup, and buying a home for his family on the course at Prospect Bay.
Matt, 35, was a tournament regular a decade ago, but he started an insurance business in Washington and that has kept him busy of late.
"I made an effort to get my game back last fall, and then I worked on it during the winter," he said. "We both knew we'd come back; it was just a matter of when."
Given their choices, however, both brothers, along with their father, would opt for fishing rather than golf. Looking forward to another of the family's occasional visits to Montana, Matt said, "If we're 2-handicappers in golf, we're plus-5s in fly fishing. We really get after it."
MAPGA Senior Tour
The host team of Bob Benning-Tom Hall combined for nine birdies and one bogey in fashioning an 8-under-par 64 to win the latest tournament at Stoneleigh Golf Club in Round Hill, Va. Leo Steinbrecher-Wade Briggs finished a distant second, 71, in the better-ball format where at least one player had to be a Senior member.
Gary Benoit-Joe Max 72; Kent Sasher-Mike Heimer 72; Keith Eynon-Andy Viglucci 72; Randy Bird-Gray Hamilton 73; Al Fenstomocher-Kevin Boynton 74; Dick Corsepius-Pete Stassi 74; Paul Zwior-Monti Goff 74.
Eagle's Nest will conduct a member tournament Saturday in memory of Ann Braun, the club's general manager, who died of cancer last winter. An entry fee will be charged and all proceeds will go to an education fund for her two daughters. . . . The Kemper Open/Make-A-Wish Foundation has named Joel, 17, from Baltimore, its "Kid of the Month." Joel, who has a brain tumor, and his family recently spent a week playing golf in Puerto Rico. . . . Duke University senior Pam Soliman, of Lutherville, tied for 46th in the NCAA women's East Regional, and tied for 51st in the NCAA championships. . . . Former Baltimorean Coleman Plecker, head professional at Manor CC for the last 13 years, has been named the 159th member of the PGA of America to achieve the status of PGA Master Professional. . . . Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents will meet Tuesday at Forest Park GC.
This week's schedule
Today -- MSGA State Amateur, Hillendale CC, 7:45 a.m.
Tomorrow -- MAPGA Northern Chapter Pro-Assistant, Elkridge Club, 1 p.m. Tuesday -- Women's Golf Association, Sparrows Point CC, 9 a.m. Wednesday -- MAPGA pro-am, Poolesville GC, 8 a.m. Thursday -- Women's Golf Association Seniors championship, Elkridge Club, 9 a.m. Friday -- MAPGA pro-am, Hog Neck GC, 8 a.m. Saturday -- Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation Spring Publinx tournament, Mt. Pleasant GC, 7 a.m. Sunday -- Spring Publinx tournament, Forest Park GC, 7 a.m.