It's no wonder Pat Tallent, from Vienna, Va., and Congressional Country Club, says he loves Fountain Head CC in Hagerstown. He shot a final-round 70 today for a 54-hole total of 213, and a four-stroke victory in the Middle Atlantic Seniors championship at the wonderful old Donald Ross design.
Set up by Maryland State Past President Roger Finn and Middle Atlantic Executive Committee Member Joe Burns, the course was played at 6,206-yards (par 71), but as often the case with such yardage, unknowing players who looked at the numbers and figured it would be easy, discovered otherwise. Narrow tree-lined fairways and fast, firm greens combined to separate the field and determine a worthy champion.
Overall, 18-time USGA Qualifier Tallent can't be faulted for his love affair with the rolling Washington County acreage since he won a Maryland State Amateur title there in 2000 with a final victory over Jim Richardson. However, as with some love affairs, there was a rocky start. A shot out of bounds led to a triple-bogey 7 at the opening hole and a rearrangement of the leaders
Tallent and Congressional CC clubmate Ben Brundred, a former Maryland Mid-Amateur champion, began the round tied at 1-over-par 143, followed by John Cuomo, a Richmond stalwart who had tied for second last year, 144. After one hole, Cuomo and Brundred were tied and Tallent was two back. All three birdied the par-5 third, and Brundred and Tallent repeated at the par-5 fifth. However, while Tallent reeled off pars, Brundred bogeyed the eighth and Cuomo had a double-bogey. With nine holes left, Brundred was one ahead of Tallent and three in front of Cuomo.
Tallent took charge, going one ahead with birdie putts of five feet and 15 feet at Nos. 11-12, and when Brundred knocked a ball out of bounds at 15 and Tallent birdied 16, the result was all but official.
Later, Tallent said, "Going to 10, I thought I was two behind, but I hadn't realized Ben bogeyed the first hole [understandable, given his own problems there]. After the two birdies, I thought I was even, but it worked out."
Two shots that kept the round alive came in the middle of the front nine -- the two birdies. At the third, Tallent lofted a delicate bunker shot and the ball trickled down to beside the hole, and at the fifth, he drove into trees, pitched out, and had 97 yards to the hole and hit to three feet for a par save.
George Owens, a tournament regular from Virginia Beach, Va., won the Super Seniors (65-over) with 74-75-73--222. Although a top-24 finisher in the past, this marked his first prize. "By the third round, I had a feel for the golf course," he said. "I knew I had to hit short of the greens and let the ball run up. I'm not a long hitter, so this is a "fun" course for me."
- Reported by John Stewart from Fountain Head
View results for Middle Atlantic Senior Amateur Championship