HAGERSTOWN - Experience was the decisive factor as Pat Tallent built a commanding lead in the morning, then played the necessary afternoon holes even to defeat Jim Richardson, 8 and 7, for the championship of the 79th annual Maryland State Amateur championship at Fountain Head Country Club yesterday.
While Tallent, who plays from Congressional CC, has been a consistently solid player on the regional scene for some 15 years, Richardson, from Columbia and Redgate GC, was striking his first major blow since returning three years ago to a game he played well as a junior and collegian.
In the final, over an eight-hole span in the middle of the morning round of the scheduled 36-hole match, Tallent won five. He shot 34-35 for 2-under 69, and was 7-up.
"The difference was definitely his experience," said Richardson, 41. "Where I already felt like a winner on the first tee, I'm sure Pat didn't feel like that until he actually won it."
This is Tallent's first state crown.
The champion, from Vienna, Va., is semi-retired, as he pursues an intensive amateur schedule. His winter program included working out in a gym, and he is in much better physical shape.
"I'm physically stronger," he said. "This tournament is an endurance test. You have to be ready to walk all of it."
His golf game is in better shape, too. Last month, he won the Hugh Wilson tournament and lost in the semifinals of the Walter Travis, two annual events that draw the best amateurs.
Tallent will be back to his conditioning today, but Richardson will be trying to qualify for the U.S. Public Links in a 36-hole test at Beechtree GC.
"I have Wayne DeFrancesco [teaching professional at Woodholme CC] to thank for this development," Richardson said. "Over the last three years, he has rebuilt my swing and helped with my thought processes."