Ethan Ng claims 14th Carter Cup in a playoff

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (August 3, 2016)Ethan Ng of New York, N.Y., claimed the 14th Carter Cup in dramatic fashion at Winged Foot Golf Club on Wednesday, draining a 30-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole—the par-4 11th on the West Course—to defeat Brent Ito of Ardsley, N.Y., after both tallied 36-hole total of 2-over par 142.

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The sudden-death playoff began on the challenging par-3 10th, with Ito firing a shot to about 15 feet and Ng to outside 20. Both came up short on the birdie tries and easily secured their pars. On the 11th, both competitors found the left rough, but Ng knocked a shot safely to the middle of the green, while Ito found trouble after his approach went long. After a pair of shots from Ito, Ng calmly fed his lengthy putt down the slope to the front pin, holing it for the victory.

The Carter Cup—played in honor of Michael Carter, a junior club champion at both Baltusrol and Winged Foot and an up-and-coming member of the Penn State golf team at the time of his passing from a car accident in 2002—typically takes place at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., but this year’s edition was moved to Winged Foot due to the recent playing of the PGA Championship. The junior stroke-play championship also took place at the Winged Foot back in 2005, with now PGA TOUR player Morgan Hoffmann claiming the victory, also in a playoff, with a 36-hole total of 145.

Ng began the day with a 4-over 74 on the East Course and sat three shots off the morning pace, set by both Ito and Jack Wall of Brielle, N.J., who carded matching 1-over 71s. While Ng faced a slight deficit heading to the challenging West Course, he kept a positive mindset and knew the title was still well within reach.

“I was just thinking I had to go low—I had to shoot a couple under to be in there,” Ng explained. “I knew that if I played my game, I’d be fine.”

He went out and shot just what he imagined he would need—a 2-under 68, tallying six birdies on the famed West Course, beginning with a birdie-three on the opening hole. After bookending another birdie on the par-5 fifth with bogies, Ng settled in with a par on the par-3 seventh, then birdied Nos. 8, 9 and 11 to make a quick leap up the leaderboard. He had a couple more miscues on Nos. 13-14, but birdied the par-4 15th and closed with three pars down the homestretch—even narrowly missing a birdie chance on the 18th after a great approach into the green from the left rough.

When all was done, Ng pointed to his flatstick as the main difference between the two rounds. “In the early morning, I couldn’t really get anything going with the ball on the greens,” he explained. “But, in the afternoon I figured out my putter. I drained a lot more putts and made a lot more par saves than the first 18.” He also felt as if his ball-striking was more solid as he maneuvered the West Course, saying, “I was hitting a lot more greens this afternoon and putting myself in position for birdies and I made a couple more.”

Ito carded a pair of 71’s en route to his 142 total, taking the runner-up honors. Recent U.S. Junior Amateur semifinalist John Pak of Scotch Plains, N.J., and 2016 Met Junior runner-up Max Theodorakis of Danbury, Conn., tied for third at 4-over 144. Gerry Mackedon of South Setauket, N.Y., rounded out the top five, while William Rand of New York, N.Y., Connor Daly of Bronxville, N.Y., and recent MGA/MetLife Boys champion Nathan Han of Somers, N.Y., tied for sixth at 7-over 147.

The Carter Cup has a short history but the list of past champions includes PGA TOUR player Morgan Hoffmann (2005), now professionals Max Buckley (2007), Cameron Wilson (2009), David Pastore, the 2014 MGA Player of the Year (2010), and junior standout Cameron Young (2011). The championship is invite-only, based on a criteria set by the MGA and MGA Foundation. Golfers must not yet be 19 years of age and have not yet started college by July 29, 2015.

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