Younger golfers once again dominated play in yesterday's 78th Maryland State Men's Amateur championships. And after four quarterfinal and two semifinal rounds of match play at the 6,998-yard North course at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, today's 36-hole championship match will pit Brad Hastings, 22, from the Eastern Shore against Clark Topping, 21, of Columbia.
Hastings, who had defeated Chuck Ingram of Beaver Creek Country Club, 3 and 2, in the morning's quarterfinal round, then came from 1-down through 12 holes to defeat 19-year-old medalist and 1997 DeMatha graduate Kenny Doerrer, 2 and 1.
Doerrer had played 2 1/2 days of nearly perfect golf in his first appearance in the Maryland Amateur. But Hastings stayed with him in the afternoon round and capitalized on his only two mistakes of the tournament.
Doerrer, a 4 and 2 winner over Danny Riskam in the quarterfinals, came up 30 yards short of the green on his tee shot at the 179-yard par-3 13th hole. He bogeyed, Hastings parred and the match was squared. The two halved No. 14 and Hastings hit a 15-foot downhill birdie on the par-5, 15th hole to take his first lead.
The two halved the 16th before Doerrer hit his second shot on No. 17 into the pond that borders the green. And after Hastings rolled his third shot to within two feet of the hole, Doerrer conceded the hole and the match.
"The extra year of experience helped out a lot," said Hastings, who, in his first Maryland Amateur appearance last year lost a semifinal match to Larry Storck. "After the birdie on 13 I really got it going. . . . I didn't make many mistakes on the back nine and was able to pull it out."
Doerrer was forced to switch caddies for yesterday's rounds. His brother Steve, a sophomore All-Met at DeMatha, was on the bag yesterday.
"My [college] roommate caddied for me the first two days," Doerrer said. "But he had to go to Jimmy Buffett['s concert] today. Steve was good, though. But he's still not a better golfer than me."
Topping was the other DeMatha graduate in yesterday's semifinals. A 1995 All-Met and recent Seton Hall graduate, Topping extended his amateur career by one day with a pair of 1-up victories. His first was over Navy's Michael Albus and his second was a semifinal win over veteran Chuck Freedman of Hobbit's Glen.
Topping, who defeated Freedman last year in the second round, before losing in the quarterfinals, will turn pro after today's match.
"I was kind of hoping my amateur career would end like this," Topping said.