- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Even leading the field by four strokes late on Sunday afternoon, the last of the three-day Southern Maryland Amateur Golf Championship tournament hosted by Breton Bay Golf and Country Club in Leonardtown, Pete DeTemple admitted he could not set it in cruise control quite yet despite only having four holes to play.
But when DeTemple, runner-up in the event in years prior and in his 12th Southern Maryland Amateur Championship tournament, walked to the 18th tee with his lead still intact he admitted that, only then, was he in cruise control.
DeTemple won his first-ever Southern Maryland Amateur Tournament championship with his three-day score of 5-under-par 211, four strokes better than two-time champion Mark Cusic and second-place finisher Kyle Neimann, a Northern High School graduate. Neimann earned second place after winning a one-hole playoff over Cusic.
“My 4-iron is one of my favorite clubs, but I hooked it too much on 16 and it was no cruise control then,” said DeTemple, who bogeyed the 16th hole. “I know Mark, because I have been playing with Mark for years, and he can turn on three birdies in a second. That guy is good.”
The bogey on 16 was matched with a birdie by Neimann to get him to within four strokes and a par by Cusic to get him to within three with two holes to play. However, DeTemple was able to hold on to his substantial lead.
“It feels pretty good because it was a strong field out there,” said DeTemple, a Callaway resident, of the win. “I beat some good players, and I know everyone didn’t play their best, but still, they were still in the field.”
The champion was a model of consistency through the three days, shooting a 1-under 71 on Friday and identical 2-under 70s on Saturday and Sunday.
“First day, on Friday, I only hit four greens [in regulation],” DeTemple explained. “I hit four greens and shot 1-under by chipping up-and-down. On Saturday, I hit seven greens and today, I didn’t miss too many, and if I did, it was only by a little bit.”
Dentsville resident Craig Norford won the senior championship flight with his score of 227, one stroke better than second-place finisher Jim Hicks. It was the first-ever championship for Norford.
“It was tough to beat that guy [Joe] Fenlon, who has won it three times in a row [2009-11] and then Barry [Royston] who won it last year, so it does feel good,” Norford said. “I have been a member of the club for about four years and I had no expectations.”
Norford, who shot scores of 74, 77, and 76 through the three days, had his spleen removed in March and added, jokingly, “Beware of the injured golfer, so to speak.”
David Bean of Leonardtown ended his 20-year winless drought at the amateur championship with his championship third-flight victory with a three-day score of 239.
It was Bean’s first-ever win at the amateur championships, but admitted he had added motivation on the Father’s Day finale when his 5-year-old said, “Don’t lose,” before leaving the house.
“I’ve won other things, but this tournament has been my Achilles’ heel,” Bean said. “It feels very nice to get over the hump, finally.”
He added, “Today, I finished strong. Me and the guy I was playing with were tied on the last hole and I made par and he made a double [bogey]. ... I had it at 1-under going into the 16th and I made bogey-bogey, but I was happy because when you play any sport, you just want to finish strong and I did that. On the last hole, I stuck it to 10 feet and almost made the birdie but had a tap-in par.”
La Plata High School rising sophomore Tyler Koch won the championship first flight and the overall junior flight title with a three-day score of 225 after losing in the same flight last year by one stroke.
The two titles were his first-ever titles at the Southern Maryland amateur.
“This year, I had a game plan coming in, mapped out the course pretty well and pretty much exceeded it aside from a couple of strokes,” Koch said.
Other championship flight winners included David Darden (Flight 2, 237), Brian Channel (Flight 4, 251) and Stephen Schwartz (Flight 5, 261).
Additional senior flight winners include Davie Dietz (Flight 1, 240), Phil Riehl (Flight 2, 242) and Billy Goddard (Flight 3, 261).