Lowe, Gotterup, Trotta lead Ike Championship
PURCHASE, N.Y. (June 26, 2017) – Three players stand atop the leaderboard following Monday’s opening round of the 62nd Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship Presented by Callaway, as Matthew Lowe of Colonial Springs, Jake Trotta of Wykagyl and Chris Gotterup of Rumson all carded opening rounds of 2-under 69 at Century Country Club.
Six competitors lie just one shot behind heading into Tuesday’s final 36 holes of play, including 2012 Met Amateur runner-up Matt Mattare of Darlington and 2017 Ivy League individual champion Michael Graboyes of Watchung Valley.
“I never put myself in trouble really,” said Lowe, who helped his Richmond squad to the Atlantic 10 title this spring. “It was a good tee-to-green day. I felt good on the greens. I think I had five hard lip outs, so I’m putting well, but not a lot of putts dropped—which is good, I feel good heading into tomorrow.”
A challenging part of Century lies in its lengthy par-fours, but Lowe took advantage of two of the shorter par-fours to begin with, as he carded birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. His sole bogey came on the par-three fourth; however, he followed with 13 consecutive pars and a closing birdie on the par-four 18th for the 2-under round.
Meanwhile, 17-year old Gotterup—who recently qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur—matched Lowe’s three birdies and one bogey to capture a share of the overnight lead. “Today was just really solid—stress free,” said Gotterup, who has committed to Rutgers. “I just had one hiccup on the second hole with a three putt but I missed one green maybe, hit a bunch of fairways and just kept it in play and hit it real solid.”
Gotterup took advantage of the par fives, hitting all three in two shots and easily two-putting for his birdies. Heading into Tuesday, Gotterup is aiming to keep it simple and repeat his opening round performance, saying, “I’m just going to try to keep it in play, make a few birdies here and there and see what happens.”
Trotta carded a field-best seven birdies on Monday, but also scattered in five bogeys to claim a stake in the lead. After turning in even-par with two birdies, Trotta added five birdies on his final nine, including three over his last five holes.
Joining Mattare and Graboyes just one shot back are Campbell University rising senior Thomas LaMorte of Haworth, Notre Dame rising sophomore John Felitto of Echo Lake, Barry University rising senior Kyle Brey of Bethpage, and MGA eClub – Long Island member Connor O’Rourke, who recently completed his career at Manhattan College.
Century’s very own Sam Bernstein leads five competitors just two shots back following opening rounds of even-par 71. “I was a little nervy off the tee,” said Bernstein. “I think I put some pressure on myself being at my home club, but I steadied things out a bit and made a few putts.”
Recent New Jersey Amateur champion Dawson Jones of Jumping Brook, recent Cornell graduate Luke Graboyes of Watchung Valley, Matthew Jackson of Golf Performance Center, and Reid Bedell of Manasquan River also posted matching 71s.
Last year’s Ike runner-up and recent Army graduate Peter Kim of Royce Brook, recent WGA Amateur champion Christian Cavaliere of Mahopac, 2016 MGA Public Links champion Michael Miranda of Bethpage and 2016 Carter Cup champion Ethan Ng of Fiddler’s Elbow lead 10 competitors three shots back after opening round 72s.
Century played to 6,920 yards as a par 71. Following Monday’s opening round, a cut was made to the top 40 players (and ties, or anyone within five shots of the lead), with 40 competitors carding 75 or better to advance to Tuesday’s final 36 holes. Two-time defending champion Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow was forced to withdraw as he nurses an injury.
The Ike Team Championship is also contested concurrently, with the title going to the two individuals from the same club with the lowest combined score for 54 holes. Brey and Miranda of Bethpage (even-par) and brothers Michael and Luke of Watchung Valley (1-under) will battle for the title.
Tuesday’s morning round will feature 9 and 18-hole updates, while live scoring will be available during the afternoon’s final round. For complete news and updates follow the MGA's social media outlets: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.