HAGERSTOWN - Jim Richardson, from Columbia and Red Gate Golf Course, put out two players with a combined 10 Maryland State Amateur titles, then reached today's final by producing another of the dramatic finishes that have marked the 78th annual championship at Fountain Head Country Club.
On a day when not only the darkness-delayed second round, but the quarterfinals and semifinals as well, were able to be completed, Richardson forced extra holes with an 18th-hole win against Gary Mankulish, then gained the last round when he eliminated the University of Maryland golfer from Laurel with a par at the first hole.
"I just started playing again about three years ago," Richardson said enthusiastically, citing his real estate work that had kept him busy in the past. On an emotional high, he said: "This is just an incredible run."
Pat Tallent, from Congressional CC, a 1994 finalist, advanced opposite Richardson with a 2-and-1 conquest of Joe Records, from Timonium and Hillendale CC.
For the first time in recent years, the semifinals were not dominated by the younger set. Although there were five under 25 among the eight quarterfinalists, Mankulish, who went 19 holes to thwart a strong bid by Baltimorean Allan Phillips, from Hunt Valley GC and Emory University, was the only one to advance. Mankulish's father won this event in 1975 and 1977.
Richardson, 41, worked his way through the top half of the draw, winning the 18th hole to beat nine-time titleholder Marty West, 1-up, then stopping defender Brad Hastings, 3 and 2.
Tallent, 46, moved out with victories over collegians Kenny Doerrer (3 and 2) and Chris Connolly (6 and 5). He birdied four front-nine holes in a row against Doerrer, who was 1-under par and 3 down after five, then took out Connolly in a round set up by wins at Nos. 6-7-8, the last with a bogey.
Against Records, 53, Tallent rallied from 2 down after No. 6 to draw level with a par at the eighth and a 3 1/2 -foot birdie putt at the 12th. Winning pars at the 13th and 15th accounted for the final two-hole margin.
Earlier, Records had dispatched Evan Hileman in 19 holes, and, "making every putt I looked at," dropped Bart DeLuca, 3 and 2. "I'm tickled to death to get this far," Records said.