Lee Elder's sometimes reluctant putter turned into a magic wand on the afternoon back nine as the Washington touring golf professional carded 69, 72 - 141 that won the medal in sectional U.S. Open qualifying yesterday at Bethesda Country Club.
Elder Don DeAngelis, Norristown, Pa. (71 72-143); amateur Warren Choate, Williamsport, Pa. (74 70-144); and Rick Osberg, Smyrna, De.l (71 74-145), all qualified for the Open June 15-18 at Cherry Hills in Denver.
Elder recovered from a double-bogey 6 on the 10th hole and used just 10 putts his final eight holes. He birdied three straight, 11, 12 and 13, and got the ball "upand down" from near the green on three other occasions tocomplete his afternoon round of two over-par 72.
Elder's 69 in the morning was the day's only par-buster. He birdied the first two holes, then took a double-bogey 6 onthe par 4 third when a camera clicked while he was hitting his third shot to the green. One lanked that pitch shot onto the left side of the green and three-putted.
Elder, gaining his 11th Open at 43, scored dueces on three of the four par-3s and birdied three other holes for his 69.
He said he was "too cautious" in the afternoon and missed putts of five feet, 10 feet and five feet on holes six, eight and nine, going out in a shaky 38.
He seemed to be in trouble when he double-bogeyed the 10th hole by missing another short putt.
"I knew I'd have to play hard from then on in," Elder said.
He holed a 15-foot birdie putt at 11, a "touchdown" 40-footer at 12, and a 10-footer for his third consecutive birdie on the uphill, par-3 13th hole.
He parred in from there, holing some testing putts.
"I think the putt at 11 was the turning point," Elder said. "I had some character builders out there.
DeAngelis, 22, who is a wisp at 122 pounds, found the not-too-lengthy Bethesda course to his liking. An assistant to his father at Plymouth County Club in Norristown. DeAngelis bogeyed just five of 36 holes.
Choate, who is 6-foot-5, fired the afternoon's low round, a 70, which included a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 16th hole. Choate took two double bogeys but still had 74 in the morning.
Osberg, head pro at Garrison's Lake near Dover, Del., did not make a double bogey. "That's the key to this," he said.
his best stretch was the start of his morning back nine when he birdled three of his first four holes.
Mark Diley, an assistant pro at the University of Maryland, carded two 73s for 146 and was the first alternate.
Dave King parred the first two holes of his home course and won a playoff against Tom Robertson of Scotland, Pa., for final alternate after both finished at 147.