TOWSON, MD., JUNE 10 -- Charlie Harris, 54, became the oldest player to win the Maryland Amateur golf championship today when he overwhelmed fellow Towson resident Tim Dilli, 8 and 6, to win the 70th renewal at Country Club of Maryland.
Harris, responding to encouragement from a gallery made up mainly of members at his home course -- on which he is club champion -- took advantage of Dilli's putting problems on the front nine of the afternoon round and won with ease.
"I'm not tired now, but I'll probably be tired later. Maybe it's the adrenaline," said Harris, who qualified Thursday, played two rounds Friday, two more Saturday, and trudged through 30 holes today. "After the second day I was pretty tired."
Tournament rules stipulate players must walk the entire way. "When they made golf carts, they had me in mind," said Harris, who is concessionaire at two Baltimore public courses.
The match was still very much in doubt, with Harris holding a 1-up lead, after the morning 18. Dilli, a 30-year-old printing salesman and former pro, starting putting poorly in the afternoon and his game unraveled. Dilli, who plays out of nearby Hunt Valley, three-putted the fifth hole from 20 feet to fall 3-down. Dilli also three-putted the next hole to allow Harris to remain at 3-up.
Dilli lost the following par-4 hole when he found a greenside bunker with his second shot, hit his third shot over the green and took double bogey. He three-putted the ninth hole for another double bogey to fall 5-down, and the rout was on.
"The putting just killed me," said Dilli, who finally lost after he drove into the woods on the 12th hole of the afternoon and last of the match. "That killed the rest of my game. But he played steady. He wasn't much over par."
Harris, who putted superbly and also hit some excellent long-iron shots, seemed to be energized by the vocal backing of his fellow members. "This club supports anybody who belongs here a hundred percent," said Harris, who has been a Country Club of Maryland member for 16 years. "I knew they'd be out there. They'll all cheer me when I walk into the room later."
Because of business commitments, Harris played in this tournament only one other time, several years ago, when he narrowly lost to seven-time champion Marty West.
"I never had the time to play in it," said Harris, who made time this year, practicing hard the last three weeks.