Maryland Sr. Open: Am John Howson wins 3rd
TOWSON, Maryland (Oct. 17, 2012) -- It was the survival of the fittest in the final round of the 13th Maryland State Senior Open at the Country Club of Maryland in Towson, October 16. At the finish, after two surprising playoffs, amateur John Howson claimed his third championship and professional Larry Ringer, a four-time titlist in the first five years, picked up his fifth Super Senior prize.

Howson, a Mountain Branch Golf Club member, won on the third extra hole with a two-foot birdie putt at the 318-yard uphill par-4. A superb shot from 53 yards when his ball was in a hole under a tree set up the winning putt. "I hit that wedge shot perfectly," he said. Francisco, director of instruction at Piney Branch Golf Club, had it eight feet for birdie but missed.

Where Howson's putting saved him after hitting only five greens in regulation (one on the last nine), it was Francisco's undoing, as he had four 3-putts and missed a five-foot putt on another hole.

In regulation, Howson closed with a 72 for a 36-hole total of 142, the same total as posted by John Francisco, 68-74. Howson turned one shot ahead of Francisco, but one behind a charging Bud Lintelman. Then Howson birdied 12, and bogeyed Nos. 15 and 18. Francisco rallied with a birdie at 14 and a tie at 15, then slipped back with a bogey at 16, only to have Howson come back to him at the last hole.

Ringer, teaching professional at Musket Ridge Golf Club, who has won just about every area title available to him during a storied career of more than 40 years, admitted to putting woes, but drained a 25-foot birdie putt --"the only one I made," at the first playoff hole to get past amateur Marty West, from Columbia CC, another who has had a stellar career. He was just inside Ringer, but could not duplicate the feat. For the round, Ringer flashed some of his old heroics with a 1-over 71 after opening with 75. West went the other way, bogeying Nos. 8-9, and doubling 10 on his way to a 78, after being tied for the lead with a first-round 68.

Others among the first-round leaders also went south, although teaching pro Lintelman, Westpark GC in Leesburg, VA, was still ahead through 12. From there he dropped back with three bogeys in the last four holes, giving last year's runnerup four bogeys for the back nine. Defending champion Bob Affelder, teaching pro at the Original Golf School at the Bay Club, finished 69-76--145, and Charlie Briggs, head professional at the Burning Tree Club finished 69-77--146.

While they were going the wrong way, Glenn McCloskey, head pro at Loudoun G&CC, and amateur David Nocar, Chartwell CC, were sneaking in to tie for fourth after matching rounds of 72-72--144.

Wendell Haight, from Hobbit's Glen GC, spiced his round with a hole-in-one with a hybrid club at the 183-yard uphill eighth. After going some 50 years without one, he has now had two over the last several months.

Notes: The opening-day rainy weather disappeard and the second round was played on a partly sunny and breezy fall day. . .Barry Flaer, Maryland National GC, had the low round of the second day, a 71 for a 148 total. . .The 6,225-yard course was played to a par of 70. . .115 players returned 36-hole totals. . .The 2013 MSGA Senior Open will be held at Worthington Mabnor GC in Urbana.

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