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Worthing Wins Greater Houston City Am

on 08 October 2012.

Juan Salcedo’s undoing was Bart Worthing’s opportunity to win his all-time favorite tournament at the Greater Houston City Amateur Championship. Worthing, a 32-year-old small business owner from Weston Lakes, birdied two of his final four holes to shoot a final round 69 and won the prestigious championship at Memorial Park Golf Course by two shots.

Bart Worthing played steady golf for four rounds and won the Houston City Amateur by two shots.Bart Worthing played steady golf for four rounds and won the Houston City Amateur by two shots.This came after Salcedo bogeyed away a seemingly insurmountable eight-shot lead with 18 holes to play. Salcedo, a 2011 graduate of Texas State, was 10-under par through 54 holes after lighting up Memorial Park for back 5-under 66s in the second and third rounds. Salcedo was lapping the field and most—including Worthing way back at 2-under par—thought it was a race for second place.

Then the final round started.

Salcedo bogeyed the par-5 first hole. He bogeyed the second, a par 3. He bogeyed the par-4 third. He kicked a club when he doubled the par-4 sixth hole. Next came another bogey on the eighth, a 480-yard double-leg right that normally plays as a par 5 but is converted to a par 4 for the City Am. By the time Salcedo walked off the green on the par-4 12th, he had slammed a club into the ground twice and was even par for the championship.

He had given back 10 shots in 12 holes.

“I’ve been sick,” he said, appearing stunned. “I really had no energy and have been sick all week. But that’s not an excuse. Golf is golf, stuff happens. I don’t know what to say.”

Worthing, meanwhile, plodded along and minded his business. He never looked at a leaderboard, never asked for a scoring update. He had shot even par 71s in the second and third rounds after posting 2-under 69 on Friday.

Playing one group ahead of the leaders, Worthing had no idea about Salcedo’s struggles. As he stood over an eight-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole, however, Worthing figured something was up.

Juan Salcedo led by eight shots with 18 holes to play but finished in second place.Juan Salcedo led by eight shots with 18 holes to play but finished in second place.“The cameras came out at the ninth green,” said Worthing, who embraced his wife Andrea and ninth-month-old son Hudson after the victory. “The media started following my group and not his, so I knew something was going on. When we came by the clubhouse at the turn, I made sure not to look at the leaderboard. I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to play my game.”

Worthing made the birdie putt on No. 9 and was one shot behind Salcedo at the time. After a series of par-saving putts on the back side and birdies on the 15th and 16th, Worthing pulled away and won by two shots with a par on the final hole.

Salcedo never quit and played final five holes at 2-under, but it was too late. His final round 79 left him alone in second place. Despite the meltdown, Salcedo kept a positive attitude.

“I put together two good rounds, and I’m happy about that,” said Salcedo, who has played in two U.S. Amateurs and the British Am. “I’m excited to turn pro soon and play in my next event, wherever it is.”

Worthing, for his part, was almost speechless. The four-time club champion at Riverbend Country Club in Sugar Land knows a little something about the pressures of playing with a lead. He had a three-shot lead through 36 holes at the 2009 City Amateur but finished third that year. He’s scored top 10s in the Texas Golf Association’s State Mid-Am and South Region Mid-Am, but he called the City Am his favorite tournament.

“I can’t believe this happened,” he said. “I can’t believe I’m standing here talking to you. I thought we were all playing for second place. I’ve always dreamed about winning this tournament. It’s always been my favorite.”

John Hunter and Trevor Sauntry finished tied for third. Hunter shot a 1-under 70 in the final round; Sauntry shot 73. Scott Dawley finished fifth; Matt Van Vandt finished sixth. Former two-time champion Kip Guidry finished tied for seventh place at 5-over 289.

Sixteen-year-old Benjamin Arnett won low junior honors and tied with Guidry at 289. Arnett, a junior at Pasadena’s Dobie High School, verbally committed to the University of Houston earlier this summer after winning the HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship in June.

“There has been some doubts about whether I’m good enough to play at this level,” Arnett said. “This week proves that I am good enough, simple as that.”

Two-time City Am champion Gary Durbin (1989, ’91) took ninth place, and Trent Booher finished 10th. The top 10 finishers are exempt to the 2013 City Am. For full results, click here.

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