Mel Rifman of BWI Range in Baltimore shot 32 over the front nine at Germantown Country Club, then used his driver only three times on the tight back nine to finish at par 70 to lead four qualifiers for the $400,000 Kemper Open.
Rifman, 34, shot 75 and failed to qualify here last week. Yesterday, he fired four birdies to gain the field for the Kemper, to be played May 29-June 1 at Congressional Country Club.
"Anytime you get to tee it up in a national tournament, it is the thrill of a lifetime," a relieved Rifman said. "There was not one easy hole out here today."
Al Green, a Crownsville, Md., pro who lost out in a five-man playoff last week, clinched the second spot by sinking a 20-foot par putt at the 16th hole for a 71.
Jim Seeley of Prince Georges and John McNaney of Rolling Road grabbed the final two spots, surviving a playoff among five players who shot 72. Playoff losers were Gary Mankulish of Woodmont, Mark Walach of Richmond and amateur Fred Frank of College Park.
In the playoff, Seeley birdied the par-4-first hole when he sank a four-foot putt. Mankulish and Funk were eliminated when they took bogey.
That left McNaney and Walach to shoot it out for the final spot. They halved the second hole in par and the third hole in bogey. On the par-4 fourth extra hole, Walach hooked his tee shot into deep woods and lost his ball. Walach eventually took triple-bogey 7 and McNaney won the hole with a bogey.
Other pros and amateurs in the field of 75 who paid the $100 entry fee were singing the back-nine blues. Former Maryland Open champion Gary Marlowe recorded double bogey, bogey on the suffocatingly tight 12th and 13th holes en route to a 76.
Brian Staveley, the Middle Atlantic PGC's leading money winner, lost his ball on the difficult 16th hole and shot 77. Army Navy assistant pro Ken Leber shot the front nine in 33 and the back nine in 43.
"The back nine here doesn't cut you any slack," host pro Randy Bird said. "There are very few people who can control a driver on some of these holes. You hit anything you have the nerve to hit."