Howson Wins Maryland Senior Open Title

PIKESVILLE, MD. (Oct. 12, 2010) -- Jon Corliss led John Howson by five shots going to the final nine holes, but they went in opposite directions from there and Howson wound up with a one-stroke victory in the 11th anual Maryland State Senior championship at The Suburban Club in Baltimore, October 12. Howson, the defending champion from Sparks, finished with a 1-under-par 69 for a 36-hole total of 140, while Corliss, the 2008 champion from Virginia Beach, Va., ended 74-141.

Corliss gave no indication of impending doom when he used two front-nine birdies to get to 5 under par for the tournament after 27 holes. At the same time, Howson, tied for third when the round began, gained second place with nine straight pars. That made it pretty much a two-man race, as Mike Occi, two-back after an opening 69, slipped back, as did Bob Bilbo, while Burke Hayes, the 2005 champion, could not dent the top two.

Howson chipped one shot off the margin with a birdie at the 11th and there was a three-shot swing at the 480-yard par-5 12th, where Howson made birdie and Corliss began his free-fall with a double-bogey 7. Four more bogeys would follow. "It was my tournament to win and I couldn't do it," Corliss said. "I lost my rhythm and couldn't make a par." Howson had his ball 12 feet from the cup for eagle but after watching Corliss make 7, missed his first putt and settled for a birdie. Two missed greens led to bogeys and he offset one of them with a 10-foot birdie at the short par-3 16th.

Hayes included an eagle-3 at the 12th (3-wood second and a 20-foot putt from the fringe) and finished with 71-143, where he was tied by Bilbo, 71-72--143. Occi totaled 69-76--145. In between were Butch Butler (five birdies), a four-time runner-up in the event, 75-69, and Frank Ferguson (four birdies), who used his best round of the year and the day's best round, a 68, to jump over 34 players into a tie for fifth, 76-68.

Bilbo, 67, who had either won (2) or shared (1) the Super Senior (60-over) title in the past, claimed another title with his 143. Four-time Maryland Senior Open champion Larry Ringer, who has three outright and one shared Super Senior titles, finished 74-76--150. Jim Castagna earned the Super Senior prize for the amateurs with 74-74--148.

Aside from Hayes, there were two other eagles in the 110-man field, both at the shortened 500-yard ninth (was played at 552 yards the first day). Darrell Lanier reached the green in two and sank a three-foot putt, and Mark Helffrich, the host professional, hit a 250-yard 4-wood second to four feet.

The 2011 event will be held at Montgomery Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, October 17-18.

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