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Thomas romps to Amateur title


CHEVY CHASE -- Jeff Thomas made sure this one did not get away -- and did it in record fashion.

Thomas, not out of the lead for the first three rounds, but a runner-up last year after a closing 76, had a 1-under-par 69 and a 72-hole total of 276 to win the 89th Middle Atlantic Amateur championship at Columbia Country Club yesterday.

Thomas, from South Plainfield, N.J., started the day with a five-stroke lead, and when it was over, the margin was a tournament-record-tying 10 over runner-up Scott Inman, 71286.

The 276 was four strokes under par.

"That's one of the best medal tournaments I've ever had," said Thomas, 36, who has won eight New Jersey Amateur titles at stroke play. He opened with a par-70, and trailed by two, then took command with a 67 (four-shot lead), followed by 70-69.

"The key, really, was those first three holes," Thomas said. "I'm the world's worst bunker player, and I was in two of them.

"I was in one beside the first green and got up-and-down with a 10-foot putt, and in a fairway one at the third, reached the green and two-putted."

Over the same stretch, Columbia member Richard Holland, who started in second place, had the ball inside 10 feet for birdie three times, and didn't make any of them.

"He was just so steady," Holland said of Thomas. The challenger never got anything going and finished third at 75287.

(Scores, Page 10C)

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