After wondering where his golf career was headed, John Scott Rattan answered his uncertainty by defeating his longtime friend and rival from junior golf in the 86th annual Washington Metropolitan Amateur yesterday at Congressional Country Club. Rattan, 23, of Montgomery Country Club, defeated Ryan Tendall, 23, of Congressional, 4 and 3, in a scheduled 36-hole final that ended after 33 holes.

"It's been a long time since I won a tournament," Rattan said. "Winning anything is nice."

Rattan, who graduated from the University of Tennessee in May, had struggled this past collegiate golf season, recording only two top-10 finishes in eight tournaments. When he returned home to Maryland, he took a month off to work with his teacher, Kirk Lucas.

"I had a pretty down year," Rattan said. "I was in between what I wanted to do this summer -- playing in tournaments or not playing -- so to come out and win my first one means a lot to me."

Rattan was steady through the first 18 holes while Tendall had a rough start. Tendall bogeyed three of his first six holes to fall behind by three at the turn. He got back to two down by making birdie on No. 10, but then had four bogeys to close out the first 18 holes, putting Rattan up five at the break.

Rattan birdied the first hole of the second 18, then faltered. Rattan bogeyed the third hole and hit it into the water twice on No. 6. On the par-3 No. 7, Tendall's tee shot hit the flag and landed only a few feet from the hole. He made birdie to cut Rattan's lead to three.

"I knew if I could hit some fairways early in the front nine I could put some pressure on him, and I did," Tendall said. "I scrambled as good as I could. I just dug myself too deep a hole."

After Tendall's wayward tee shot led to a bogey on No. 11, Rattan reclaimed the momentum on the par-3 No. 12 with a 50-foot par putt, preventing Tendall from narrowing the lead.

"After I made it, I apologized because it was a pretty bad way to make par after he hits the green and two putts," Rattan said. "I said, 'Man, I'm sorry about it.' "

The match ended on No. 15 when Tendall landed his third shot in the left front bunker. He blasted his ball out of the sand, over the green and onto the grassy slope. Unable to chip in for a five, Tendall conceded the match when Rattan left his first putt one foot short.