Gary Marlowe, playing with the skills he hopes to take on the pro golf tour after next year, shot a solid final-round 70 at his home Woodmont course yesterday to win the Middle Atlantic Amateur by five shots with a 72-hole total of 291.
Marlowe began the day tied with Philadelphia seniors champion Allen Sussel, who said his claim to fame was winning the Israel Open as soldiers protected the golf course in the 1969 Maccabiah Games.
Sussel fell one stroke behind when he took bogey from a greenside sand trap at the second hole, and fell two strokes back when he three-putted the fourth hole.
Marlowe rammed in a 20-foot birdie putt at the fifth hole and then hit a five-iron shot eight feet from the cup at the par-3 sixth hole and tapped in his second straight bird to open a three-shot lead.
Although the 57-year-old Sussel closed the margin to two shots on the next hole and kept that margin for quite a while, he never mounted a threat.
"It would have taken a professional to beat him today," said Sussel, whose second-round, two-under-par 70 in howling winds was one of the tournament's finest. "Gary's got the game to make it as a pro. It might have been different if I hadn't taken those early bogeys. Later I got tired and a little discouraged," Sussel added. He finished second with 75-296.
"My plan was to try to keep the ball inside him all day," said Marlowe, 22, who in 1978 became the youngest player ever to win the Maryland Open. Last year he won the Maryland Amateur.
After he hit a low punch shot and made birdie at the par-3 sixth hole, Marlowe said he told himself, "They've got to catch me now."
The only player within striking distance besides Sussel was Ken Mattiace of Jericho, N.Y. Mattiace began the day three strokes behind Marlowe but fell out of the chase when he four-putted the ninth green for double bogey to fall six strokes behind. Mattiace finished third, 76 -- 300.
Marty West of Columbia, who won this tournament by a record 10 strokes last year at Congressional, posted a final-round 72 and finished fourth at 302, followed by Gill FitzHugh of Army Navy, 74 -- 303.
Marlowe said he hopes to defend his Middle Atlantic Amateur title next fall and then will go to qualifying school in an attempt to gain his TPA Tour playing card.