COLLEGE PARK- Stephen Decatur’s Kyle Gebhart came within one stroke of winning a state championship on Wednesday at the University of Maryland course in College Park, but a bogey on the 18th hole kept him from participating in what would have been a three-way playoff for the title.
If nothing else, Gebhart was the model of consistency during the three day state tournament at College Park this week. He led the Seahawks with a 71 on Monday in the team tournament and shot the same score on each day of the individual competition. Decatur shot a team score of 342 on Monday to miss the cut, but Gebhart, along with Jake Miller and Jenny Sullivan, qualified for the two-day individual championships.
Gebhart shot a 71 again on day one of the individual championships and sat in the three-way tie for second place going into the decisive final round on Wednesday. The men’s championship match went back and forth all day on Wednesday with none of the top golfers able to separate themselves from the others on the leaderboard.
Gebhart came to the final hole on Wednesday needing at least a par to join two other golfers, Alex Hoffman of Middletown and Brandon Powers of Bel Air, in a playoff for the title, but he bogeyed the final hole to finish with a 71, while the other two golfers each finished at 70. Hoffman eventually won the state title after two playoff holes, while Gebhart settled for a third place finish.
“He was in a dogfight with two other golfers all the way to the end and lost a chance to compete in the playoff by one stroke,” said Decatur Coach Jim Krall. “The other two boys went to two playoff holes and the kid from Middletown won it all. He bogeyed the 18th. If he only made par, he would have been in the three-way playoff.”
Gebhart finished with a pair of 71s for a combined score of 182, which put him in third place after Hoffman finished off Powers in the playoff. Decatur’s Jake Miller and Jenny Sullivan also qualified for the individual championships after Monday’s team competition and both acquitted themselves well on the difficult course at College Park. Miller shot a 79 on day one on Tuesday and followed that up with a 75 on Wednesday to finish with a combined 154, good enough for 36th place in the field of 93 golfers in the Class 3A tournament. Sullivan shot a 92 on Tuesday and a 90 on Wednesday to finish at 182, good enough for 33rd in the women’s competition.
Krall said he was pleased with how his young team competed in the first year since moving up to Class 3A and predicted a better outcome for his lead golfer next year. “I am very proud of the team, especially Kyle, for the way they represented Decatur at the state level,” he said. “Kyle is an exceptional player and is destined to win it next year.”