You don't tug on Superman's cape, don't spit into the wind, and you don't mess with Marty West on his Columbia Country Club golf course, especially in Maryland Amateur.
West steamrolled his fifth and final victim of the week, Mike Bittman of Congressional, 5 and 4, to win his fourth Maryland Amateur title yesterday.
"I've heard a lot about his short game. Today I got to see it firsthand," said Bittman, 22, a recent graduate of Georgetown, where he played No.1 on the golf team. "He's one of the best bunker players I've ever seen.
Bittman won the opening hole of the 36-hole final with par, but after that, it was not his day.
Playing in his major tournament, Bittman raked his footprints in the sand trap on the par-5 fifth hole before he attempted his bunker shot.
That is not allowed under the Rules of Golf, and Bittman was penalized loss of hole and fell 2 down. He likely would have lost the hole anyway, since his ball was buried in sand and West was on the green Both laid three.
Bittman finally lost the match on the 14th hole (the 32nd) of the aftetnoon, when he hit "one of the longest seven-irons I've ever hit, about 185 yards," over the green and onto railroad tracks, out of bounds. West won the hole and the match with regulation par.
West is a tournament veteran who recently returned from playing on the U.S. Walker team and in the British Amateur. When he saw Bittman three-putt the first and second greens in the afternoon to fall 5 down, he said he decided to play more conservatively.
Bittman lost chances to get back into the match in the afternoon when he missed a five-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth (22nd hole) afterlacing a great tee shot and when he bogeyed the following hole after West presented him with a rare opening.
On that hole, the par-5 fifth, West hooked his drive into pine trees, advanced his second shot only 15 feet and was short of the green in three.
Bittman, in perfect position after his drive and seeing West in trouble, elected to play a fairway-wood second shot. He pushed it into trees, however, and ended up halving the hole with a bogey.
Bittman received a glimmer of hope when he won the tough par-4 11th with birdie by blasting into the cup and making birdie on the par-3 13th to cut West's lead to 4 up.
Terry Burke of Congressional pared the second extra hole and won the qualifying medal in a scheduled, 18-hole playoff against David Morris of Columbia. Those two and Larry Rentz of Crofton shot 70 to share low round in Thursday qualifing. Rentz did not appear for the playoff.