Lowe fires 61, claims Ike Championship
PURCHASE, N.Y. (June 27, 2017) – Matthew Lowe of Colonial Springs fired an incredible 10-under 61 in Tuesday afternoon’s final round of the 62nd Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship Presented by Callaway at Century Country Club, setting new Ike and course records to hoist the iconic Ike bust trophy. Lowe closed the championship at 8-under 205, claiming the title by five shots.
Lowe trailed by six shots entering the final round, after carding a 4-over 75 in the morning round. “It was a bad morning for morale,” Lowe said. “I felt like everything was going ok and I just somehow shot four-over.” However, the 21-year old rising senior at University of Richmond remained positive and determined entering the final 18 holes. “I told my dad I’m going to have to shoot 8-under to win,” said Lowe.
Despite a disappointing approach shot on the first hole in the afternoon, Lowe sank a 45-footer for birdie to begin his quest for the trophy. After quality iron shots and pars on the next four holes, Lowe strung together four-straight birdies to turn in 5-under—which quickly launched him near the top of a jammed leaderboard, where 11 competitors stood within two strokes of the lead.
Though his momentum slowed with a bogey on the par-four 10th, he quickly responded with four birdies over the next five holes. “All of a sudden I wasn’t thinking about winning anymore because I knew that I was either tied for the lead or winning, in all likelihood,” Lowe said. “So, I didn’t want to get protective of anything because that’s how you let everything go.”
He seemed to be headed for a bogey on the par-four 16th, but a fantastic recovery shot—what he calls his shot of the year—helped save par. Still 55 yards out for his third shot, Lowe hit a low, hooking wedge into a sloping portion of the green, quickly killing the ball and settling it five feet from the hole.
He closed in style, carding birdies from six and eight feet on the final two holes. “I’ve wanted to win this forever,” said Lowe. “I think I tried qualifying for the first time in 2009 and played in my first in 2010. This is one of the majors and I’ve always been seeking this one.”
Though Lowe won by five shots in the end, the leaderboard was packed for much of the afternoon. Second-round leader Matt Mattare of Darlington finished tied for second at 3-under 210 for the championship, as did 2016 Ike runner-up Peter Kim of Royce Brook and Thomas LaMorte of Haworth—whose 3-under 68 tied for the second-lowest round in the afternoon. Michael Miranda of Bethpage, the 2016 MGA Public Links champion, Sam Goldenring of Brooklake, and James Nicholas of Deepdale rounded out those finishing in red figures, shooting 2-under 211 to tie for fifth.
Chris Gotterup of Rumson, a recent U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier, Reid Bedell of Manasquan River, and John Felitto of Echo Lake rounded out the top-10 by finishing at even-par 213.
Lowe’s 61 matched Stewart Hagestad’s 61 last year in on-site qualifying for the Met Amateur for the lowest score in MGA championship history, and broke Peter Kim’s single-round Ike record of 63. It also set a course record, besting a 64 by Paramount head professional Steve Scott.
Brothers Luke Graboyes and Michael Graboyes of Watchung Valley came away with the Ike Team Championship, which is contested concurrently. The title goes to the two individuals from the same club with the lowest combined score for 54 holes. The duo combined for a 3-over championship total, besting Miranda and Kyle Brey of Bethpage, who finished at a combined 6-over.
Century, a co-host of U.S. Open sectional qualifying on a three-year rotating basis, played to 6,960 yards as a par-71 during the final round. Its classic design served as a true test to a starting field of 135 competitors, with the top 40 scores and ties advancing to Tuesday’s final 36 holes of play.
The top-10 finishers earn an exemption into the 63rd Ike Championship, which will take place at Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y.