Lothian resident wins with a final-round 68

Charlie Winegardner played in the Bubby Worsham Memorial the last two years -- hosting the winner, Jay Mulieri, at his home in Lothian. This time, however, in his final year of eligibility, Winegardner took the first-place trophy home himself.

Firing a 2-under-par 68 Wednesday at Glenn Dale Golf Club, Winegardner (209) won by two shots.

"I lost to Jay twice," Winegardner said. "Thankfully Jay's not here this year."

With the 21-year-old Mulieri too old to compete in the event, which includes players 16-20, the path was clear for Winegardner, a junior at Coastal Carolina.

There was just one problem: He started the final round in fifth place, five strokes behind Jack Bonifant, a junior at James Madison, who shot 68-68 in the first two rounds.

"I figured I needed to shoot 4-under or better," said Winegardner, who played in the threesome ahead of Bonifant. "Coming into the clubhouse, I was satisfied with the way I played. But I didn't think it would be good enough."

While Winegardner played the first 15 holes at even par, Bonifant held his lead. But bogeys on four of the final five holes were costly on Bonifant's way to a final-round 75. Meanwhile, Winegardner birdied two of the last three holes.

At No. 16, Winegardner made a 15-footer birdie, using his new TaylorMade Ghost putter. At No. 18, a 462-yard par 5, Winegardner reached the green with a driver and a 5-iron, then two-putted from 30 feet.

"I was going for birdies. I was going for everything," Winegardner said. "I thought I needed a few more."

Winegardner, who lives off the first hole at Old South Country Club and is a member there and at Congressional, thought he had blown his chance to make up ground. He nearly drove the green at the downhill, 378-yard 14th, but then hit a poor pitch and missed a 10-footer for birdie. At No. 15, Winegardner missed the green, hit a flop shot to within three feet, but failed to make the par putt.

"I was really frustrated," Winegardner said. "I was playing pretty well and not getting much out of it."

Winegardner was fortunate to get into the tournament, applying the night before after playing Wednesday-Saturday in the Palmetto Amateur in South Carolina.

"I just felt like this would be good practice for the Metropolitan Amateur," Winegardner said of the prestigious tournament Thursday-Sunday at Westwood Country Club.

Instead of practice, Winegardner won his third Washington Metropolitan Golf Association title. He claimed the Bobby Gorin (14-15 division) in 2006. Later the same summer, he won the Bob Riley Junior.