July 11, 2013
Towson, Md. - Before the golf season began, Denny McCarthy, from Argyle Country Club, set a goal of winning the Maryland State Amateur and the Maryland Open during the year, something that had never been done before.
Talk about a high bar.
McCarthy, 20, a Rockville resident, completed the task when he birdied the last hole for a 54-hole total of 200, turning back Rick Schuller, a professional from Prince George, Va., by a single stroke in the 92nd Maryland Open at the CC of Maryland in Towson, July 10.
Last month, McCarthy, a rising junior at Virginia, made the goal seem possible when he defeated Andrew Rice, Baltimore CC, 5 and 4, at the CC at Woodmore in the final of the 92nd MSGA Amateur.
In his last three Open appearances, he has now won twice (2010 and 2013) and finished second once (2012). The 200 is the second-lowest three-round total in tournament history, surpassed only by Bob Boyd's 197 (71-62-64) in 1990 at Bretton Woods Recreation Center.
McCarthy's Open handiwork began in 2010 when he included a 64 in his total of 202 to beat a fast-closing (31 on the back nine) Keith Unikel -- who would finish as the runnerup in the Amateur and the Open that year) -- by two shots at Manor CC. At 17, he became the youngest Open champion by two years.
Last year, he included a 63 against Sean Bosdosh at Old South CC, but Bosdosh, leading by one, prevailed with a long birdie putt on the final hole when he knew McCarthy was in "certain" birdie range. Both shot last-round 69's for Bosdosh to finish at 204 and McCarthy, 205.
All of which was a lot of experience, course management, and superb ball-striking which helped set the stage for his latest heroic effort.
Such was the tightness of the match that no more than one stroke separated the two from beginning to end.
Schuller birdied the ninth to go 1 up; McCarthy got even at 12, and went ahead with a par at the treacherous 14th. Both birdied 15 and parred 16, so when Schuller knocked in an eight-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th, it sent them to the 18th tee tied.
Schuller's second shot to the 347-yard, par-4 18th came up 18 feet short of the hole and McCarthy followed with a 102-yard wedge shot that stopped four feet from the cup. Schuller's first putt stayed wide and when McCarthy converted, he had a one-shot triumph.
"My short game and my putting saved me on the back," McCarthy said later. "I had missed a couple of short putts earlier, so at 18, I just jammed it."
McCarthy finished 66-68-66--200, and Schuller, 66-68-67--201. The two now own three of the lowest four totals in tournament history.
McCarthy has always concentrated on patience and this time it was a key factor.
"I knew it was going to be a long, tough road. I just stayed patient," he said. "It feels great."
Note: Story courtesy John Stewart of the Maryland State Golf Association
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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