Larry Rentz has this habit of being around during the late stages of the Bubby Worsham Memorial Junior Invitation golf championship. Yesterday, for the first time in three years, he made it pay off, defeating Peter Hiskey, 3 and 2, in the championship match.
Rentz, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Florida who graduated from Fairmont Heights High School and plays out of Crofton, lost in the semifinals two years ago and on the 19th hole in last year's final.
He was not to be denied yesterday, winning the first four holes and never trailing. Hiskey was plagued the whole match by approach shots that kept flying over the greens and poor putting.
Hiskey bogeyed the first three holes, missing a four-foot putt on No. 2 and knocking his approach on No. 3 over the green 75 feet from the cup. Rentz parred all three.
Rentz birdied the 514-yard fourth after placing his third shot five feet from the cup.
Rentz then lost his concentration on the next three holes, shooting bogey 5 on each and allowing Hiskey to pull within one.
"I don't know why, but I was ill at ease," Rentz said. "I needed another foot on my putt on the fifth, hit the putt too hard on the sixth and three-putted on the seventh when the heel of the putter scraped the ground."
After halving No. 8, Rentz double bogeyed the par-3 ninth, losing the hole to Hiskey's bogey 4 that squared the match.
On the 10th, Hiskey sank 40-foot putt for a birdie 3. "I was planning to make it into two, but it went in one," he said. Hiskey narrowly missed a birdie attempt from the same distance.
The two halved No. 11. On the 12th, Rentz uncorked a 340-yard drive, prompting a spectator following the action to remark, "I don't travel this far to visit my mother."
Hiskey overshot the green on his third shot and finished with a bogey 5 to give Rentz a 2-up lead. Rentz then lost No. 13 with bogey.
Rentz won No. 14 when Hiskey, a 17-year old senior at Northwestern High, again hit his third-shot over the green.
The best shot of the match came on No. 15, a 376-yard dogleg right where Rentz landed his tee shot in the right woods at the bend.
"I couldn't play it safe and try to knock it back on the fairway since Hiskey had landed his tee right in the middle of the fairway," Rentz said. Rentz, unable to see the green, sent a shot through an opening in some low-hanging branches and over the remainer of the trees to land on the green 180 yards away. He two-putted to halve the hole.
On the 16th, Rentz followed a 330-yard drive by punching his second shot over the green and down a hill. He recovered with a beautiful ship that landed a foot from the cup. His key, who left his tee shot in deep brush under a pine tree, later knocked his fourth shot from just off the green past the pin by 15 feet. He then conceded the match-point putt to Rentz.