By Matt Hombach
David Hutsell battled his way through a three-way sudden-death playoff to capture the 44th annual PGA National Championship at Hershey Country Club East Course in Hershey, Pa. With the win, Hutsell, who serves as director of instruction at The Elkridge Club in Baltimore, brings the Walter Hagen Cup home along with a $75,000 check, exemptions for six PGA events in 2012 and a coveted invitation to the PGA Championship in August.
|David Hutsell (Courtesy of Matt Hombach)|
The famed club in Hershey wasn't the first place Hutsell had tasted success at the PGA National Professional Championship. Last year, he finished sixth at the tournament and earned a chance to play in last year's PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin, where he missed the cut with a two-day total of 11 over par.
Riding a wave of confidence and what he hopes will be easier playing conditions, Hutsell said he hoped to have a better showing at this year's tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia by working smarter and not harder when preparing for the tournament.
"Whistling Straights was an extremely difficult golf course, but I'm sure Atlanta will offer a good test too," Hutsell said. "As a club professional, we don't play golf every day. I play about once a week. I've learned over the years not to wear yourself out playing practice rounds and beating balls. Just be ready when the bell rings on the first day of the tournament."
Before the tournament, the 40-year-old Hutsell said his only goal was to finish in the top 20 and qualify for the PGA. It's safe to say he exceeded his goal, tying Faber Jamerson and Scott Erdmann at the top of the leaderboard with an 11-under-par total through four rounds of competition.
Erdmann was eliminated on the first playoff hole when he failed to get up and down from a bunker on the 18th hole. Hutsell and Jamerson both parred the 18th and headed back to the 17th tee for the second playoff hole. After Jamerson's drive went left, he was forced to pitch out, eventually making double bogey. Hutsell played the par four perfectly, draining an eight-foot birdie putt to seal the win.
Hutsell is not the first person from Maryland to lay claim to the Hagen Trophy. Wayne DeFrancesco of Columbia won the PGA National Professional Championship in 2001.
|Billy Wingerd, Brian Meyer and Chris Baloga (Courtesy of Classic Five Golf Courses)|
Chris Baloga Claims Stroke Play Title
Chris Baloga held off Bill Wingerd's strong final-round charge to claim his second Maryland Stroke Play Championship during the past three years. Baloga, who plays out of Hillendale County Club and is the coach of Loyola University's golf team, fired a three-round total of 206, besting Wingerd by a stroke.
Mike Filler took home the First Flight Championship with a total of 229. James Castagna won the Senior Division Championship with 223. Greg Ruark was Senior Division runner-up and Steve Grochowski was Senior Division First Flight Champion.
City Courses Crown Baltimore's Best Putter
Baltimore's Classic Five held its second-annual "Baltimore's Best Putter" contest late last month at Mount Pleasant. Dave Williams was the Adult Division winner, shooting a score of 17 on the nine-hole putting course. Tyler Stinar was the Junior Division winner with a score of 20. Both winners received a free round of golf per week for the rest of the year at any Classic Five golf course.
Issue 163: July 2011