Mark Evenson waited until he was walking toward the 18th tee yesterday before asking where he stood on the leader board. Having lost tournaments because he knew he was leading, Evenson wanted to be kept in the dark.
But this time, he had to know where he stood before the final hole. After finding out he was tied for the lead, Evenson sank a 35-foot uphill birdie putt to win the Middle Atlantic PGA section club professional championship at Lowes Island Club in Sterling.
"It was not a realistic putt to make," Evenson said.
Evenson, of Suburban Club in Baltimore, made five birdies during the final round to shoot a course-record 5-under-par 67. His total for the 54-hole stroke play tournament was 207. Dennis Winters, of Columbia Country Club, shot a 69 and Steve Madsen, of Lakewood, shot a 68 in the final round to finish tied for second, one stroke off the lead.
Four weeks ago in the MAPGA club assistants championship, Evenson had the lead but bogeyed four of his final five holes to finish tied for second. He said he made the mistake of asking where he stood on No. 14 and was not about to let that happen to him again.
So he emphatically told tournament officials yesterday not to let him know where he was in relation to the leaders. Evenson began the day tied for third, two strokes off the lead.
But he figured he had to know on the last hole. His tee shot on the par-4 No. 18 left him 157 yards to the pin. So he used a 7-iron to knock it onto the green, hoping to put the ball close enough for a short putt. Instead, it rested 35 feet downhill from the hole.
"You don't want to lose the tournament on this hole, because I've done that before," Evenson said. "I jabbed it terribly. It was going to go by pretty far if it missed the hole. Under pressure, you know? It was a good line. It hit the hole, dead center. Surprised the heck out of me."
Winters, who was tied with Evenson for the lead at the time, was in the group behind him and heard the cheers go up when he made the putt.
"When he made that putt on the last hole, that's when I knew I had to do something," Winters said.
Winters had a chance to force a playoff, but missed a 20-foot birdie putt. "If I hit it a little harder, it would have been in," Winters said. "I thought I had it at first, then it just kind of lost speed."