- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Booz Allen Classic defending champion Adam Scott won’t be in completely familiar territory when the tournament begins tomorrow at Congressional Country Club. However, his career already shows a parallel to that of the last player to win at Congressional: Ernie Els, in the 1997 U.S. Open.

Last year’s Booz Allen victory came at the TPC at Avenel, a course across the street from this year’s site. Scott hadn’t played at Congressional before yesterday, though he did remember watching bits of Els’ victory when he was in high school in Australia.

“He came across on television as a pretty smooth operator,” Scott said. “Not too much fazed him, and I think that’s probably a lot how I am. I try not to let things get to me out there.”

Scott is also seeking to match Els’ early success. Ranked eighth in the world, the 24-year-old has collected three PGA Tour victories — including last year’s Players Championship — to emerge as one of the sport’s rising young stars.

Els also was 24 when he won the 1994 U.S. Open, and he has since added two more majors to his resume. That gives Scott hope that he could pick up a significant victory in coming years — perhaps as soon as next week’s U.S. Open in Pinehurst, N.C.

“I’d like to win a major here and just get one away,” Scott said. “I think that gives you the opportunity to have a career that may bring many majors.”

Mayfair bounces back

Billy Mayfair has made the most of a one-time, year-long exemption.

Mayfair, who used the exemption for being among the tour’s top 50 career money winners after finishing 140th on the money list last year, figured he didn’t have much to lose by remaining on tour this season.

“Even if I had played good this year, I might have dropped out of the top 50, so I might as well have used it while I was there,” said Mayfair, who began the year 48th in career earnings. “A lot of guys thought that was a lot of pressure, but to me it felt like I’d played another year and qualified.”

He won’t have to worry about his status for next season. Mayfair already has four top-10 finishes, including a runner-up two weeks ago at the Colonial, and ranks 19th on the tour’s money list.

“I changed to the belly putter, and the big thing is that it’s given me a lot of confidence,” Mayfair said. “I’m not thinking about it as much off the golf course as I did last year. When I miss a putt, I don’t worry about it as much. It’s just being confident and being comfortable out there.”

Mayfair isn’t the only player in the Booz Allen field to use the exemption this season. Tom Kite returned to the tour at 55 but has made only two cuts in nine tournaments.

Browne goes low

District native Olin Browne shot a 59 in the second round of his U.S. Open qualifier Monday at Woodmont CC in Rockville, finishing birdie-eagle-eagle to earn one of 22 spots in next week’s tournament. Monday’s rain prevented the qualifier from finishing until yesterday morning.

Browne, who will play the Booz Allen on a sponsor’s exemption, opened with a 73 before rallying to secure his U.S. Open spot. J.P. Hayes was the medalist at Woodmont with a two-round total of 129.

Father knows best

Monday qualifier Brad Adamonis has a secret weapon this week at Congressional. Adamonis’ father, Johnson & Wales University golf coach Dave Adamonis, will handle the looping duties for his son this week.

Until last week, Johnson & Wales might have been the best kept secret in college golf. That was before the small Miami school crushed all comers at the NAIA Championship in Olathe, Kan., winning the national title by 28 strokes with a team score of 19 under on the Prairie Highlands Golf Course.

“I think we broke every NAIA record on the books,” said the senior Adamonis, who started the now thriving program just five years ago. “Hopefully, I can pass on a little bit of that magic to Brad this week.”

Alternates make it

Alternates Jason Allred and University of Virginia product James Driscoll were added to the field after Steve Lowery and Woody Austin withdrew.

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