When David Long, the head golf professional at the Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville, heard this year's Maryland State Golf Association Open Championship would be held at his home course, he immediately thought of 1992.
That was the last year the tournament was held at the Country Club at Woodmore, and club member Del Ponchak captured the title by winning a three-person playoff that included then-club professional Larry Ringer.
Like in '92, home-course advantage hasn't hurt in the tournament's 83rd edition -- especially on the greens -- as Long posted a second consecutive round of 1-under-par 70 yesterday to head into the final round with a share of the lead.
"The layout is pretty straightforward, there aren't a lot of blind shots," Long said. "It's just a matter of getting the right yardage out of the fairway, because the greens, it's like three separate greens on each one."
Long is tied at 2 under for the tournament with Bill Rislove (72-68 -- 140), a professional at Fair Oaks Golf Park, and is one stroke ahead of first-round leader Moose Brown (69-72 -- 141), an amateur who plays out of Hayfields.
Following his round yesterday, Long was happy with his play but a bit frustrated with his finish. After playing the front nine even with three birdies and three bogies, Long got to 3 under on his round and 4 under for the tournament with birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 16. On the 18th, however, Long found the water and ended up with a double bogey. Not coincidentally, the 18th hole is the one on the course that was significantly changed for the tournament. It usually is a 540-yard par-5, but for the Open it is a 471-yard par-4.
Still, Long felt good about where he was, especially considering he had never reached the final day of play in the Open before this year.
"I'm just going to go out and try to do what I did the last two rounds," Long said. "Keep it in play, get it on the green, make birdies, try not to make any huge errors and take my chances with that. I haven't had the opportunity to be in the lead a whole lot, so it will be interesting to see what happens."
In addition to Rislove and Brown, there are 11 other players within five strokes of the lead heading into today's final round. Among them is Mark Evenson (Suburban), who shot yesterday's low round of 4-under 67, and is three shots behind the leaders. All-Met golfers Kevin Vollmer, who just graduated from Georgetown Prep, and Kelly Manders, a rising senior at DeMatha, both are seven shots back but not out of the running.
"It looks like it will be a heck of a shootout tomorrow," Brown said. "A lot of guys have a chance, and not only that, the golf course is set up so that if you hit a good shot, you're going to get rewarded."