Gary Marlowe of Woodmont, who beat rain and darkness to finish, led the way with a three-under-par 69 in the first round of the 78th Middle Atlantic Amateur golf tournament yesterday at Congressional Country Club.

Tied for second place at 71 were three familiar area players: Marty West, Gill FitzHugh and Perky Cullinane.

A record field of 182 was entered and 176 teed off. One hundred and two survived the cut of 81. There will be a further cut to 60 and ties after today's round and another to 40 and ties for the final 18 on Sunday.

What started out as an ideal golf day was disrupted by a storm that swept through in the afternoon and delayed play for 45 minutes. The course was dry and hard for the early finishers but, according to Marlowe, "It played much easier after the rain."

Marlowe, formerly one of the junior stars in this area, is the current Maryland Amateur champion and was the low qualifier for the U.S. Amateur this summer. He switched as a junior from Lousiana State to Maryland this year but will not be eligible unitl spring.

Marlowe was out in 35 and back in 34. He birdied the fourth hole when he rolled in a 25-foot putt and the fifth when he made a 30-footer. He bogeyed the short seventh but birdied the 10th, 15th and 16th holes before catching another bogey on the 17th.

West, the reigning amateur player in this area for many years, had a two-over-par front-nine 38 and came home in 33. FitzHugh the Northern Virginia Amateur champion and runner-up in the District Amateur, had two birdies and a bogey on his card. Cullinane had a 34 on the front side with birdies on the first and ninth on short putts. He took two bogeys and a birdie coming home for his 71.