EASTON, Md. (Sept. 6, 2008)--Pat Tallent, who has stormed through assorted Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Senior golf tournaments for the 50-over crowd introduced himself to the 55-over Senior set by the best way he knows -- winning ther golf event.
This was the 80th Senior Amateur championship of the Maryland State Golf Association, and Tallent, a Congressional CC member who turned 55 last month, returned rounds of 69-73--142, and held off a fast-closing Michael Kelly by a stroke at Talbot Country Club in Easton.
Kelly, a recent qualifier for the U.S. Senior Amateur due later this month in Fort Worth, Texas, opened with a 1-over-par 73, was 3-over after an outgoing nine in his second round, then made it close with a 4-under 32 on the back nine to complete a 73-70--143 total. The Eastern Shore course played to a par of 36-36--72 over 6,485 yards.
Tallent, who had five birdies, two bogeys in his opening round, began his second without missing a beat, rapping in the first of two 20-foot putts on the front nine (the other came at the ninth). He birdied the 501-yard, par-5 fifth, then gave it back with a bogey at the sixth. Five under par and eight shots in front, Tallent proceeded to, the back nine in 39, with three bogeys.
"In that stretch, I got it up-and-down a couple of times and didn't on three occasions. I just hit a lot of bad shots," the champion from Vienna, Va., said. "Then, I hit a good 4-iron shot at 18 (180 yards) and that helped me [finish with a par]."
One group in front, Kelly began making his presence felt when he had four birdies in a span of five holes coming home (Nos. 11, 12, 14, 15 -- two of them two-putts on par-5 holes). For the round, he hit 17 greens in regulation - his only miss contributed to a double bogey - and reached 33 of 36 in the two rounds.
"I had some of the best ball-striking of my life," he said.
There were 28 second-round starters who had opened at 78 and better, and for the first two hours, it appeared as though no one was going to make any kind of a run. Of the first 22 finishers, only George Washburn, from Holly Hills CC in Frederick County, had broken 150 (77-71--148). The 71 was the second-low round of the day, and his 148, later matched by Sheldon Kalish, a perennial top-5 contender from Hayfields CC in Hunt Valley, was good for a tie for third. In a previous start, Washburn had tied for fifth in the 2002 event.
Michael Blum, 64, who plays from Forest Park GC in Baltimore, was alone in fifth with 72-77--149. For Blum, a one-time player, this was his second Senior event of the year after getting back into the game within the last couple of years.
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