BETHESDA -- Shane Patterson made birdie putts of 35 and 30 feet midway through the last nine to snuff out a rally by Steve Thomas and win the 71st championship match of the Maryland State Golf Association's men's amateur championship at Bethesda Country Club yesterday.
Patterson, from Norbeck CC, defeated Thomas, from Crofton CC, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final. Patterson, 20, is the youngest champion since Paul Haviland, longtime head professional at Maryland Golf & CC in Bel Air, who was the same age when he won in 1950.
A combination of respective good play/bad play had enabled Thomas to win five holes in a row from Patterson and turn a runaway into an even contest after 31 holes.
Both players were on the par-4 14th green in regulation when Patterson discovered he did not have his putter.
"I was flustered [after losing the previous hole and the lead], and put it down at the tee," Shane Patterson said. "I thought my caddy [Herb Patterson, his father] would pick it up."
The rules of golf call for a match-play penalty of loss of hole for "undue delay," but referee Tom Hardinge allowed the elder Patterson to retrieve the club.
With the wayward putter back in his possession, Shane Patterson stroked the ball into the heart of the cup for a birdie to win the hole.
Thomas did not complain about the call.
"I had no problem with that," he said. "It didn't affect my pace of play, and Shane deserved a chance to play the shot."
Thomas fell 2-down when he could not get up and down from a greenside bunker at No. 15, then watched Patterson make a 25-foot putt that broke sharply into the hole at No. 16. Thomas, just off the fringe, chipped crisply, but the ball fell off below the cup.
"He spent three days with [teaching veteran] Paul Runyan in a school at Avenel last month, and I think it has made a difference in his game," Herb Patterson said. "He certainly helped him with the putting -- Shane is confident with it -- but not the chipping. He's going back to his old style."
One super chip shot from 25 feet off the eighth green got Patterson a 5-up lead at No. 8 (26th hole), but he had weak pitch shots from just off the greens at the next two holes, and Thomas went through the openings to slice the margin to three holes. Thomas proceeded to battle back to even by winning the 11th with a par, the 12th with a 25-foot birdie putt and the 13th with a par.
NOTES: Patterson, a former schoolboy champion and two-year Louisiana State undergraduate who now works in the family's photo shop business in Gaithersburg, shot 32-3466 in the morning and was 3-up at the break. . . . Thomas, 34, an insurance broker, birdied the 11th and 12th holes to draw even, then did not win another one until No. 5 in the afternoon. . . . Patterson made 10 birdies, but finished just 1-under for the 34 holes.