Mike McGinnis of Holly Hills near Frederick ended a string of 11 straight pars with bogey at the final hole today, but still led the U.S. Air/Middle Atlantic PGA Championship by one stroke heading into Wednesday's final round. McGinnis had a birdieless three-over-par 74 over the troublesome Golden Horseshoe course for a 36-hole total of 143.
Rick Hughes of Indian Spring, who shared the first-round lead at 68 with Billy Bassler Jr. of Rolling Road, is second at 76-144, followed by Bassler 77-145, Woody FitzHugh of Great Falls, Va., 74-145, and Fred Gibson of Washingtonian, 74-145.
McGinnis, 44, steadied his game when others were self-destructing over the tight Robert Trent Jones layout that is spiced with woods and and water.
After he bogeyed the par-5 sixth hole when his second shot was against a tree and he had to take an unplayable lie penalty stroke, McGinnis reeled off his par string. After hitting a four-iron approach shot seven feet from the hole at 17, McGinnis struck his birdie putt too firmly and had to hole a six-foot putt to make par.
On the 441-yard, par-4 finishing hole, McGinnis hooked his drive into trees. With tall pines blocking his path to the green, he gambled and went for the green with a five-iron. The ball made it through the branches but stopped five yards short of the green and 200 feet from the hole. McGinnis chipped to within eight feet of the cup, but his par putt lipped out.
First-round coleaders Hughes and Bassler both bogeyed the first hole and Hughes took the lead alone when he chipped into the hole for birdie at the second hole.
Hughes held the lead through the front nine but lost it with two straight bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes. Bassler fell back when he drove into the woods and double bogeyed the 11th hole.
FitzHugh crept close to the lead with with birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, but two shanked iron shots and two three-putt greens cost him four back-nine bogeys.
Gibson, one of the section's most consistent golfers, birdied the 11th hole, but bogeyed 13, 16 and 18.