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David Lingmerth stays hot in the cold at Avenel
He swung the wedge and sent his golf ball flying into the cold air at TPC Potomac at Avenel. It stuck about a foot from the hole.
He tapped in his birdie putt, followed it with his fifth of the day on 14 and never let go. Lingmerth shot a 4-under 66 Sunday to win The Neediest Kids Championship, his first tournament win.
“I don’t know if it’s sunk in. I don’t know how long that’s going to take,” Lingmerth said after being presented with the trophy by Maryland basketball coaching great Gary Williams. “I’m really happy. Ecstatic.”
Sunday’s average score of 73.3 was more than a stroke higher than the week average due in large part to cold, windy conditions. But neither the cold nor the wind could dampen the Swede’s spirit.
“This morning going to the course, I was kind of fist pumping because I knew the weather was going to be [bad],” Lingmerth said. “I’ve kind of become Americanized a little bit, but this is a good day in Sweden. I’m used to playing in this type of weather.”
While the leader heading into Sunday, Josh Persons, shot seven over par, the Swede kept hitting the ball right down the middle of the fairway. He missed only two fairways to keep himself in prime position to win.
Lingmerth’s one bogey came on the final hole, leaving the door open for a potential playoff. Casey Wittenberg came closest. After a rough front nine where he made three bogeys, Wittenberg sunk four birdies on the back nine to move within a shot.
Needing a birdie on the final hole, Wittenberg hit a second shot 4-iron from 200 yards out to leave himself with a 40-foot putt to send the tournament into a playoff.
“I hit it right on line,” Wittenberg said of the putt that rolled just inches past the hole. “But it’s 50-50 from that far. I got it to the hole, but just came up a little short.”
Still, Wittenberg took home second place and $64,800 to move into first place on the money list with $407,453.
Alistair Presnell and Philip Pettitt, Jr. tied for third at 6 under.
“He played a great round of golf. I know he’s a Swede, so he’s probably used to this weather,” Wittenberg said. “Needless to say, that’s still a really great round of golf on a really hard golf course.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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