Gill FitzHugh sank an 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, lifting him and partner Marty West to a 19-hole quarterfinal victory over Perky Cullinane and Buddy Marucci in the Belle Haven Four Ball yesterday.
West-FitzHugh will play 1982 and 1983 champions Butch Mielke of Robin Dale and Buddy Peoples of Crofton in one semifinal this morning at 8:10. Teeing off for the other semifinal at 8 will be George Andre of Belle Haven and Gray Tuttle of Albemarle, N.C., against Ralph Boccarosse of Hidden Creek and Dick Bowen of Evergreen.
FitzHugh watched as partner West birdied five of their first six holes in the morning first round as they eliminated Bill McCormick and Daran Womack of Aiken, S.C., 3 and 2.
But they got tough competition in the afternoon from Cullinane, of West's Columbia Country Club, and Philadelphian Marucci, a former winner here.
Marucci curled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to send the match into extra holes.
FitzHugh, just off the green in the fringe on the extra hole, knocked in the winning putt and fell on his back in jubilation.
"Marty likes to play with a guy who makes a lot of birdies," said FitzHugh, 37, of Army Navy. "I'm not like that. I make a lot of pars. Our strategy is to be putting for birdie on every green.
"You don't make too many bogeys that way," added FitzHugh, older brother of Middle Atlantic PGA standout Woody FitzHugh.
Former pro Bowen lost in the final last year with Brian Lehnhard as partner. He sank a six-foot birdie putt to win the 16th hole as he and Boccarose went on to win their quarterfinal over Ben Brundred of Congressional and John Miller of River Bend, 1 up.
Peoples-Mielke lost the first hole of their afternoon match to Steve and Charlie Hall of Tantallon, but recovered to win, 1 up.
Andre, an airline pilot, birdied holes 15, 16 and 17 to boost him and Tuttle past Ron Rhodes of Kenwood and Tom Walsh of Montgomery Village, 1 up.
Defending champions Neff McClary of Fairfax and his former Virginia Tech golf teammate, Wilson Dickerson of Alta Vista, Va., were eliminated by Brundred and Miller, 2 and 1, in a morning first-round match. Brundred-Miller survived a qualifying playoff Friday to make the championship flight.
Also first-round losers were Allan Strange, twin brother of Curtis Strange, the PGA Tour's leading money winner, and Jordan Ball of the host club in Alexandria. They were beaten by a couple of certified public accountants, Walsh and Rhodes, 1 up.
Walsh birdied the 11th hole from 15 feet to to give his duo a one-hole lead, and the rest of the holes were halved in par.
"If they had a CPA Open, we'd do well," Walsh said.