Mark Alwin of Congressional hit an approach shot under a low-hanging tree branch and onto the final green, made par and finished at 69-208 to win the 62nd Maryland Open by a stroke over Bill Winters yesterday at Bethesda Country Club.
Alwin won $1,750 in claiming his fifth area pro title. He has also won two Middle Atlantic Opens and two Middle Atlantic PGA championships.
Alwin and Paul Mosca of Font Hill began the day tied for the lead with 36-hole totals of 139, three shots ahead of Winters. Mosca faltered with three bogeys on the first five holes and finished third, 75-214. Winters (67-209) took the lead from Alwin by shooting four-under-par 31 on the front nine. Alwin regained the lead but could not clinch the title until he executed his escape shot on the par-4 finishing hole.
For the second day in a row, Alwin pushed his one-iron tee shot on No. 18 to the right. His ball rested about 160 yards from the green, with a tree partially blocking its path.
Alwin selected a six iron and "hit down on it and tried to cut (fade) it. It turned out better than I had hoped," he said.
The ball flew underneath a branch 20 yards ahead, hit on the front of the green and stopped 17 feet above the hole.
Winters, a Robin Dale assistant who quit golf for three years after he injured his elbow, had taken a one-shot lead over Alwin after the front nine with birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 6 and 7.
After both parred the 10th hole, Alwin sank a six-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th to pull even. On that hole, Winters hit his drive so far to the right that he played his second shot onto the adjacent 16th-hole fairway. He lofted his third shot, a 90-yard wedge, over 40-foot-high pines and onto the green, and two-putted for par.
Winters again took the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 12th hole.
Alwin pulled even with a par 3 at the 13th hole after Winters took his first bogey of the day, pushing his tee shot into a sand trap. Alwin then took the lead with a 22-foot birdie putt at the 14th hole.
Both made par at the 15th, both bogeyed the 16th after pushing their tee shots into pine trees, and both parred the 17th hole by sinking six-foot putts. Winters also parred the 18th.
Gary Marlowe of Woodmont sank a four-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff to defeat Jim Estes of Bethesda for low-amateur honors after they tied at 215. Estes birdied the 18th hole and shot 70 to force the playoff. Marlowe had a 72.