Fred Funk of College Park made a fine showing in the recent U.S. Open at Oakland Hills near Detroit, a golf course Ben Hogan once called a "monster." Funk shot a final round of even-par 70 for a 287 total, good for 23rd place and $6,345.
It wasn't until after he finished that the University of Maryland golf coach learned that had he shot one stroke better, he would have been among the top 15 and thus an automatic qualifier for next year's Open and Masters tournaments.
"I went back over my round and tried to think where I could have got that extra stroke back," said Funk, who turned 29 during the Open.
"I thought it was great test of golf, fair and very difficult. If you didn't have control of the ball, you were going to shoot high numbers. That's why a lot of the big names missed the cut (among them Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson). It was a very intimidating golf course."
Funk, who won the national PGA Assistant Pro championship last season, has also won the Maryland Open, and he will play in that event at Chartwell in Severna Park, July 8-10.
He would like to see his Terrapin golf squad improve from last season's next-to-last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He hopes improvement is forthcoming, now that restrictions on nonrevenue sports scholarships have been eased.
"When Dave Zeigler was coach, he had Roger Simpkins on the team and he did a very good job," said Funk.
"I think we're a developing team, I think we'll do better. When you're up against Wake Forest, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, which has developed into a powerhouse, you have a lot of tradition to go up against. We're in a tough league."
Joining returning lettermen Mike Kavka, John Haddock, Paul Hiskey and Don Slebodnik will be brothers Joe and Danny Hoffman of Clinton, Joe Regner from New Jersey and Tom Kovello from Philadelphia.
"I think they respect my ability as a golfer," added Funk. "But I've been a little easy on them. I've got to do a better job of coaching."
Washington pro Lee Elder, who has won four seniors events in less than two years on the PGA Seniors Tour, has committed to play in the Ronald McDonald House Pro-Am July 29 at Springfield. Other PGA Tour pros are expected for the event matching amateurs with pros to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, a comfortable place for visiting parents to stay near extremely ill children. For further information, call Steve Eckstrom at Ronald McDonald pro-am headquarters.
Woody FitzHugh's driving range near Herndon, Shannon Green in Fredericksburg, Hogan's Range in Upper Marlboro, Hog Neck in Easton and Langston in Washington are collection sites for donated free golf clubs in the "clubs for kids" program, sponsored by the Middle Atlantic PGA and United Van Lines. Clinics and refreshments will be available when the clubs are distributed from noon to 4 on Monday, July 1. Chairmen Russ Rose and Mike Ahrnsbrak have a goal of 5,000 giveaway clubs. All youths in need of clubs are welcome.
Willie McCovey, Bill Mazeroski, Red Schoendienst and Dean Chance have been added to the field for the Michelob Baseball Alumni golf tournament, July 2 at Tantallon.