Regan O'Rourke sank a nine-foot birdie putt on the second hole of sudden death against Greg McCulloch yesterday to win the 45th annual Schoolboy golf championship at Potomac Valley.
Most golfers would have been content to go home and relax after enjoying the type of day O'Rourke had Wednesday. The Churchill senior disposed of the area's reigning junior golfer of the year, Jack Skilling of St. Albans, 3 and 2, in the quarter finals and Tom Loveless of Good Counsel, 3 and 1, in the semis.
However, O'Rourke didn't care for his frequent visits to the Potomac Valley course's sparse trees, shrubbery and sand traps; he went home and practiced. He worked on his swing, studying his reflection in the plate-glass sliding door in the back of his house, and then went to Montgomery Village to drive a few buckets of balls.
"I had to square up my shoulders," O'Rourke said. "My pro (at Montgomery Village) said I was bending my knees, too much flex. So I worked on straightening them out."
O'Rourke, who never trailed in yesterday's match, seldom strayed more than a few feet off the fairways, outdriving his larger opponent on almost every hole. He did not catch a bunker until the decisive 20th hole. Bowie's McCulloch, on the other hand, was frequently in the rough and had to rely on a sizzling putter to stay in the match.
After both players parred the first extra hole, O'Rourke laced a long drive on the par-5, 593-yard second hole, 30 yards past McCulloch in the center of the fairway. O'Rourke's second shot caught the trap bordering the green; McCulloch's shot fell 75 yards shot of the green. McCulloch pitched within seven feet of the pin and O'Rourke blasted out of the sand to within nine feet.
O'Rourke jammed in his putt, which hit the back of the cup and bounced up before dropping for a bird. McCulloch slid his tricky downhill attempt over a slight mound inches to the left of the hole.
O'Rourke seemed to have the match in hand after connecting on a 33-foot biride putt on the par-3 No. 17 for a one-hole advantage.
But McColloch tied the match on the 18th. From 25 yards he pitched within eight feet and sank his putt for par. O'Rourke bogeyed by three-putting, failing on a six-foot attempt that would have given him the victory in regulation.
O'Rourke carded two under par for the match, posting 70 to McCulloch's par 71 through 18 holes.