Larry Rentz of Newbridge sank a 45-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to break a tie with BWI Golf Center's George Graefe and went on to score 69 for a 54-hole total of seven-under-par 209 and a one-shot victory in the Maryland Open yesterday at Chartwell.
"The $2,000 (first prize) is secondary," said Rentz, 25, who lives in Lanham. "This tournament has a lot of prestige in the area. It's a pretty nice tournament to win."
Graefe, a two-time winner of this event, missed birdie attempts of eight feet and 15 feet on the final two holes and ended second at 69 -- 210. Webb Heintzelman of Washingtonian, the leader the first two days, four-putted the eighth hole for double bogey and placed third at 72 -- 211, followed by Rick Hughes of Indian Spring, 74 -- 214.
Marty West of Columbia Country Club was low amateur at 74 -- 215, tying pros Fred Funk (70), Wheeler Stewart (73), Woody FitzHugh (71) and Fran Rhoads (73).
Rentz, a long hitter, used a finely tuned putting touch to win this one.
Graefe, playing in the group ahead of Rentz, birdied the 11th hole to pull into a momentary tie for the lead, but, minutes later, Rentz rolled in a 45-footer to grab the lead for himself.
Graefe caught up again by making a great birdie after a poor drive on the 15th hole. But Rentz made his cross-country putt at 16 to go ahead to stay.
Rentz, the leading money-winner with $26,000 on the National PGA Club Pro series last winter, said he will try to qualify for the PGA Tour this fall. Rentz bought out his sponsor, so any money he wins in three upcoming satellite tournaments (two in Canada and one in Washington state) will be all his.
Rentz, who started the day one stroke behind Heintzelman, took the lead before a midday thunderstorm forced a two-hour stoppage of play after five holes.