Stricker, Hart, Verplank lead Open qualifiers by shooting 137 Estes, Fabel, Carnevale gain spots in sectional; Funk fails to earn a spot


ROCKVILLE -- Steve Stricker and Dudley Hart took opposite tacks, while Scott Verplank put up two consistent rounds as they shared the medal at 137 in qualifying for the U.S. Open at Woodmont Country Club yesterday.

Each of the three had his better score on the South Course, which, at 6,550, played about 400 yards shorter to a par of 71, compared to 72 for the North. Stricker had 62-75, Hart, 72-65 and Verplank, 69-68.

With 165 going for 32 places, 12 played off at 142 for the last six places. Jim Estes (ex-Bethesda CC) got in; Fred Funk did not.

"I had a great start -- birdied the first four holes, turned six under, and birdied 10," Stricker said. "I hit a lot of great shots. I felt really comfortable.

"The afternoon was just the opposite. I guess I was trying to protect what I had [a four-shot lead]. "I had a bad mind-set, and the round became a struggle. I hung in there, but my mind kept wandering.

"This was a tough 36 holes, and after four days at the Kemper vTC with a top-10 finish -- it was tough physically and mentally, and wore me out."

Hart rebounded in the afternoon, posting six birdies and a bogey for an outgoing 30, then came back in a 1-under-par 35. Verplank had three afternoon birdies for his 68.

Mark Carnevale, son of former Naval Academy basketball coach Ben Carnevale, and one of seven at 139, opened with 67 on the North, one of the best scores for that side. "I've been struggling; it was nice to have a good round," he said.

Brad Fabel, who tied for third in the Kemper Open on Sunday, was another to take advantage of the South layout, returning a morning 66. He followed with 72138.

"I had the good score and then just hung on," he said. "I made a couple of bogeys early and then got tired." Of his Kemper on Sunday, he said, "It was a disappointing finish, going 3-over in the last five holes."

NOTES: Chris DiMarco was another to collect himself from a bad Kemper day (79) to qualify with 138. Ted Oh eagled the first playoff hole to make it.

Results, Page 5D

Pub Date: 6/09/98

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad