At the end, Glen Barrett pointed to one shot that was the difference in his one-stroke victory in the 73rd annual Maryland Open championship at Crofton Country Club yesterday.
Clutching a one-stroke lead over close friend and Glenn Dale Golf Club shop associate Webb Heintzelman, Barrett hit a 170-yard 6-iron shot from a terrible lie in a fairway bunker and the ball wound up 35 feet below the cup in a deep swale.
The ensuing multi-breaking putt fell into the cup for a birdie-3, and a two-shot margin. The head professional went on to finish with a 1-over-par 73, and a 54-hole total of 213, 3-under par for three trips over the 7,211-yard layout.
Heintzelman, who had dipped 4-under par in tying for 39th in last week's Anheuser-Busch PGA Tour event in Williamsburg, Va., never got closer than the one-stroke difference at the end. He finished 71214.
At the 436-yard 15th, Barrett's tee shot landed in a bunker. It turned out to be a scary kind of shot, because there was a pine cone about six inches behind his ball and the lip of the bunker in front of him.
"I had an awful stance at the edge of the bunker and an awful lie," he said. "Because of the pine cone, my thought was, 'Would I hit it?' I had to pick the club up sharply, I knew I had to get the ball over the top of the bunker, and I had out-of-bounds right.
"That [6-iron shot] was my best shot of the tournament. I was just trying to get it to the center of the green. That's where I won the tournament and I put the cap on it with that putt."
This was a most rewarding victory, as Barrett, 37, had had three top-five finishes in this event in four previous starts, including a tie for second a year ago, when he (and Larry Ringer) lost a three-way playoff to amateur Del Ponchock.
The best previous title for Barrett was last year's Middle Atlantic PGA Head Pro championship. "Now, it's nice to win your state title."
Of the 36-37 round, he said, "It was a grind."
Barrett, in his eighth year as Glenn Dale's head pro, had started the final round of what became a two-man chase on a hot, humid afternoon, with a three-stroke lead, and he still held it after 11 holes.
There was a two-stroke swing at the 185-yard 12th when Heintzelman almost made his tee shot, the ball hitting and stopping a foot away, and Barrett made bogey from a green-side bunker.
Barrett's heroics at the 15th restored the two-shot edge, but he gave it back at the par-5 16th.
With the win, Barrett collected a trophy, a check for $4,000 and an exemption to next year's Kemper Open at TPC-Avenel in Potomac.
Heintzelman, 31, who had made a dozen starts in tournaments on various tours this season and is back in the shop where he was an assistant five years ago, said, "I had the opportunities, but no putts went for me."