Fred Funk of College Park injected suspense into the Maryland Open today by losing a five-shot lead, regaining it and finishing with 76 for a one-shot victory at Suburban Country Club.
Funk, golf coach at the University of Maryland, won $2,000 with his 54-hole total of one-over-par 211. He was followed by Gary Marlowe, 72-212, and Roger Simpkins, 70-213, both of Woodmont.
Funk started as if the day would be pressure-free, parring the first two holes. But then he bogeyed six straight holes and lost his lead to former champion Marlowe. But Marlowe took double bogey on the par-5 ninth hole after driving into the woods and three-putting. Funk, playing the hole minutes later, birdied it and regained the lead, although he was later challenged by Simpkins, Marlowe and Fred Gibson of Washingtonian.
Going into the par-4 final hole, Funk had a two-shot lead over Gibson and Marlowe. But Funk yanked his approach shot to the left of the green and chipped 10 feet past the hole. Needing only two putts from there for victory, Funk hit his par putt past the hole and had to sink a five-footer for bogey and a narrow escape.
"I'm glad it's over. I'm glad I didn't blow it. For two days, it was easy. Today, everything was hard. Someday, I'll learn how to play with a lead," said Funk, 27, who has won five Middle Atlantic PGA pro-ams in this, his first year of eligibility. "I started playing too conservatively, trying to steer the ball."
Gibson, who played with Funk, finished fourth at 74-214. Gibson's 55-foot birdie putt on the final green hit the hole and went eight feet beyond, and he missed that, too, and took bogey.
David Nocar of Chartwell was low amateur and finished tied for fifth with pro Bill Bassler Jr. of Rolling Road at 215. Nocar shot 75 and Bassler 72.