Playing a golf match against Gary Marlowe of Woodmont is like boxing against Roberto Duran. Sooner of later he's going to hurt you. Marlowe is a babyfaced killer in double knits.
Marlowe won six straight holes and overwhelmed Butch Clemmens of the Country Club of Maryland in their scheduled 36-hole final of the Maryland Amateur golf tournament, 11 and 9, today at Green Spring Valley. Marlowe was one under par for the 27 holes.
It was not surprising that Marlowe won because he has had much more tournament experience than club players Clemmens. The surprise was the swiftness and totality of Clemmens' downfall after staying even with Marlowe through 15 holes.
Marlowe later said "something clicked" when he hit his three-iron second shot toward the par-5 16th hole in the morning round. Even though the ball came to rest in a greenside sand trap, the shot was hit solidly and gave Marlowe confidence. He got up and down in two shots from the sand for birdie to take a one-hole lead.
For Clemmens, the club champion from Maryland who failed to qualify in his only other attempt at this tournament, the 17th hole marked the beginning of the end. The stockey, 33-year old construction equipment salesman lost the par-3 28th when he again hooked and took double bogey. Clemmens was three holes down at the lunch break, after shooting 80 to Marlowe's 73, but was still in the match.
But not for long. Marlowe, who has accomplished much in the golf world since becoming, at 19, the youngest ever to win the Maryland Open in 1978, was just warming up.
He scored winning pars on the first three holes of the afternoon to take a 6-up lead. On the par-3 5th hole he stuck his tee shot eight feet from the hole and canned the putt to go 7 up and the rout was on.
"I was confident after beating Marty (West) in the semifinals," Marlowe said.
When Marlowe was a five-foot 14-year old, he shot 72 in a pro-am tournament. Now a foot taller, but sitll slender, he no longer has trouble reaching many par-5 holes in two shots and still possesses a deadly short game.
Marlowe recently transfered to the University of Maryland from Lousiana State and will be eligible to play varsity golf for Maryland next spring. And his plans after he finishes college?
"I always have my eye on the pro tour. You know that."