Even though he trailed by seven strokes entering the final round, Michael Perlmutter never doubted he could win the 54th annual Bubby Worsham Memorial at Glenn Dale Golf Club. His confidence, combined with savvy shot-making and precise putting, led him to a one-shot victory in the 54-hole event.

Perlmutter, an 18-year-old All-Met from Landon, finished at 1-under 69 yesterday on the 6,214-yard course for a three-day total of 211. Brent Davis, a rising sophomore at Montgomery College-Rockville who won the National Junior College Division III golf championship this past spring, was second at 212. Greg Brouse, a rising senior at Heritage High School and the second-round leader, finished third at 216.

"I never counted myself out even though I was down by a lot," Perlmutter said. "I wasn't playing for second place."

Brouse, the only golfer to shoot under par on the first two days, held a seven-shot lead entering the final round but came undone on the front nine, making two bogeys, a double and a triple. Perlmutter, who had a birdie, a bogey and a double on the front nine, had not gained much ground on Davis, who was 1 under at the turn and four shots ahead of Perlmutter.

Then, Davis faltered on the back nine, giving Perlmutter an opening. After laying up on the 310-yard par-4 11th hole the first two days, Perlmutter decided to go for the green yesterday. Using his driver, he hit a high cut over the trees. The ball landed 25 feet from the pin. His two-putt birdie pulled him within three shots of the lead.

After Davis bogeyed 12 and 13 and Perlmutter made birdie on 14, the players were tied atop the leader board. Perlmutter made a 20-foot birdie putt on 15, then a 15-foot birdie putt on 16 to go ahead by two strokes. Davis closed with a birdie on 18, but failed to catch Perlmutter.

"I don't think I missed a shot," Perlmutter said. "I gave myself uphill putts, put a good stroke on it. . . . I didn't make any mistakes."

Perlmutter joins a list of names on the trophy that includes Arnold Palmer, who won this event in 1951. The tournament is named for a successful junior golfer from Cabin John who was Palmer's college roommate before being killed in a car accident.

"Considering Arnold Palmer's name is on that trophy, it's a pretty big deal," said Perlmutter, who also won the Washington Private Schools Championship in May. "I think the way I played in the stretch gives me a lot more confidence. I've won before, but it's always good to win."