- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2011

Partnered with the player that was pulverizing the field - let alone the record book - Friday, James Hahn walked by the leader board screen and, despite the deepest desire to do so, tried his hardest not to look.

But Hahn was in the midst of witnessing fellow Nationwide Tour player Steve Wheatcroft trying to secure a score of 59; a feat only eight players have accomplished in the PGA history. So, naturally, curiosity won out.

“It gets to the point,” Hahn said Sunday, “where you peak at the leader board and see how many he’s leading by.”

Of course, Wheatcroft was leading by a long shot and, by the time he looked up, “I felt like I got lapped,” Hahn said. “And that’s not a good feeling.”

Yet it was a feeling felt by every golfer at the 2011 Melwood Prince George’s County Open. Wheatcroft so thoroughly dominated the field that those remaining were left to compete for the consolation.

“Everybody watches the scoreboard a little bit,” said second-place finisher Ryan Armour. “It seemed like everybody was playing for second.”

And that brought an interesting dynamic to the final round of the fifth-year tournament: On a day that usually is reserved for strain and stress, most players were anything but.

“There is a little bit of relaxation out there,” said third-place finisher Jon Mills. “It’s just [about] matching guys around you and keep birdieing because everybody’s doing it, but not going to catch Steve.”

Indeed, no person in the Nationwide Tour’s 22-year history - which has included some 362 events - would have been able to catch Wheatcroft this weekend. He may have never won an event before this one, but his combined score of 255 nullifies the nearest all-time combined score by three strokes.

With that in mind, most players weren’t too disheartened that the Pennsylvania native had walked away with it.

“It didn’t make it any tougher,” said Matt Davidson, who finished tied for 19th. “Most people are just trying to do the best they can anyways and aren’t really worried about how far back you are until the back nine.”

Anyway, by the time they reached the back nine Sunday, the result seemingly was already rubber-stamped.

“He had one of those [rounds] where you look back at it and realize he got everything out of his round, everything,” said Hahn. “It was amazing to watch.”

And that’s what fellow Nationwide Tour golfers were made to do this weekend: watch.

“When I was a little kid I remember Mr. [Jack] Nicklaus, when he won the ‘86 masters he said, ‘I can’t affect what anybody else does. I can only affect what I do,’” Armour said. “After that, you just go out and try to get the ball in the hole as quick as you can.”

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