James Mason, playing on his home Langston course, took advantage of a triple bogey by Woody FitzHugh and finished with 73 -- 143 for a one-shot victory in the 26th annual Capital City Open yesterday.
Mason, a 55-year-old cab driver known affectionately to his clubmates as "Poor Bill," shot a steady round and did not make his first bogey until the 16th hole. By that time, he had a three-stroke lead over FitzHugh, last year's Middle Atlantic PGA player of the year.
Mason won $2,000 of the $10,000 purse and FitzHugh, who finished second with a 74, won $1,000.
Bill Thorpe, who led after an opening-round 69, struggled with his putting and finished at 76, tied for third with Al Morton of Hyattsville (72) at 145. Chuck Thorpe (74), brother of Bill and PGA Tour player Jim Thorpe, finished tied for fifth with Gary Marlowe of Rockville (73) at 146.
Mason and FitzHugh were tied for the lead after Mason opened with nine pars and FitzHugh had three birdies, three bogeys and three pars.
They remained tied until they came to the par-5 12th hole. FitzHugh hit his second shot into a sand bunker 68 yards in front of the green, then hit the sand shot out of bounds. After a stroke and distance penalty, FitzHugh had taken a triple bogey 8. Mason parred the hole.
"That gave me a big relief," said Mason, who added he has been practicing in Florida and hopes to join the Senior PGA Tour this autumn.
Mason said his plan was to "just go out there and try to play the golf course. I can't worry about the young fellows and those big balls they hit. Just put a good swing on the ball and concentrate on my swing."
Mason took a two-shot lead heading to the par-4 18th. He hit his second shot into a greenside bunker but blasted out nicely to five feet from the pin. After FitzHugh made par, Mason two-putted for the victory.
Rodney Lathern, 21, of Landover, shot 72-76 -- 148 to win the championship flight of the amateur division.
Va. State Golf Association:
Bob Bradley and Matt Ball won their first Two-Man Team Championship by two strokes over defending champions Tom McKnight, of Galax, and Allen Strange, of Richmond, at the Fredericksburg Country Club.
Bradley and Ball shot 62-67 -- 129, 15 under par on their 6,449-yard, par-72 home course.