URBANA — Few of Chuck Thatcher’s tee shots went where he wanted them to go Tuesday, forcing him to adjust his second and sometimes third shots.
“My tee shots were terrible,” he said.
But his putter, which was in working order, was the saving grace for the second round of the 98th Maryland Open at Worthington Manor Golf Club.
“I was putting great today,” Thatcher said.
Thatcher, the four-time defending Frederick City Amateur champion, made four timely birdies, which gave him a 1-under-par 70. Combined with the 71 he shot in the first round, Thatcher holds a one-shot lead heading into Wednesday’s final round at 141 (1 under par).
Davis Lamb sits in second place (142). Ryan Cole, formerly of Linganore High School and the defending Maryland Open champion, is tied for third with two other golfers at 143.
None of Thatcher’s birdies on Tuesday were long-range. Most averaged between 10-12 feet, but every green presented a challenge.
Pin-placement on Tuesday favored approach shots angling toward the right side of the green.
“If the ball went left, that could be a problem,” said Thatcher, who is a psychologist for Frederick County Public Schools.
Thatcher’s birdies were on Nos. 1, 8, 13 and 14. He would’ve had a better round had it not been for bogeys on Nos. 2, 3 and 6. Thatcher had no birdies on the back nine.
A pesky green on No. 3 forced Thatcher to make a pair of 20-foot putts. His first rolled past the green. His 20-footer back the other way stopped just short of the cup, forcing Thatcher to settle for bogey.
“My first putt got to the top of the hill, rolled past the cup and went down the other side,” Thatcher said. “Then I had to putt back up the hill.”
This is the first time a county golf course has hosted the Maryland Open, according to Ed Coyle, head professional at Worthington Manor.
“It’s also only the third time in Maryland Open history the tournament has been held at a public golf course,” he said.
Worthington Manor has hosted its share of major regional amateur events, including local qualifiers for the U.S. Open, but getting to host the Maryland Open has been a dream-come-true for the course and its staff. There is no bid process for getting the Maryland Open.
“Of course, you lobby for it,” Coyle said. “This is pretty exciting stuff.”
Billy Reed, of Frederick, made the cut for Wednesday’s final round, shooting a 73 for a 146.