Chris Coulther of Fort Washington visited the trees and took the scenic route on his final nine holes but still scored a five-shot victory to win the Marvin "Bubby" Worsham Memorial golf tournament yesterday at Glenn Dale Golf Club.
Coulther, 19, who plays out of Tantallon, had an eight-shot lead heading into the final nine. He played some shots down the stretch from precarious positions, but still won by a comfortable margin with a final-round 78 for a 54-hole total of 220.
Adam Corson of Potomac, the Interstate Athletic Conference champion who fell out of title contention with a second-round 79, rebounded with the best round of the day, a 72, and finished second at 225. Last year's runner-up, Mark Jansen of Fairfax (74 yesterday), won a three-way playoff among 227 shooters to finish in third place. Mark McGuire of Vienna (79) and Doug Jarrard of Gaithersburg (76) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Coulther owned a five-shot lead after an opening-round 68, a six-shot bulge after Tuesday's second-round 74, and had a big cushion heading into his final nine holes yesterday.
But he had many anxious moments before his name could be inscribed beside that of the likes of Arnold Palmer, who won the first Worsham at Bethesda 40 years ago.
Coulther hit his approach shot on the par-4 14th hole into cedar trees to the right of the green and salvaged a bogey with an eight-foot putt. At the par-4 17th hole, his drive went to the right, hit a cart path, took a huge bounce and stopped next to a tree. With a swing restricted by the tree, Coulther advanced his next shot only 40 feet and was lucky to escape with another bogey.
His drive on the final hole was also near a tree, but he played a 4-iron shot up beside the green, chipped up and two-putted for his par-5 and victory.
"I was glad to get off the golf course today. It was weird," said Coulther, a junior at Old Dominion University whose biggest previous victory was in the Nordlinger Cup four years ago. "When you have a six-shot lead, you want to go out and just play the course, but that's easier said than done."
"It's never over till it's over. That's no excuse for me playing bad. . . . I also think I had some bad breaks on the back nine . . . but that's golf."
Coulther appeared headed back to the pack after taking a double bogey on the 10th hole in Tuesday's second round, but pulled into a commanding lead again by finishing birdie-par-birdie-par-birdie.
The tournament was previously played at match play, but tournament officials have gone to stroke play in a few junior events this season so as not to tie up the golf course.