Brent Ito Wins the 46th MGA/MetLife Boys Championship at Rumson
RUMSON, N.J. (August 8, 2014) - It took 22 holes and an absolutely unbelievable two-putt birdie for Brent Ito of Ardsley, N.Y. to finally claim victory at the 46th MGA/MetLife Boys Championship at Rumson Country Club. The 15-year-old never trailed a match the entire championship, but let a 3-up lead slip away in the final match against Christopher Gotterup of Little Silver, N.J.
On the 14th tee Ito held to his 3-up lead when Gotterup, the Rumson Junior Club Champion, stuck his tee shot on the difficult par 3 to about three feet. Ito conceded the putt and the lead was cut to just 2-up. As a gallery began to gather for Gotterup at his home club, the momentum began to shift. They would go on to halve the next two holes and Gotterup was forced to win the 17th and 18th to extend the match. He would do just that, getting up and down for par on the 17th to win and two-putting for par on the 18th to send it to a sudden death playoff.
“When I was 3-up I thought I had it in the bag,” Ito said. “I made some silly mistakes. I just tried to keep calm and not rush too much.” Before the final match, Ito had lost just two holes the entire championship; so losing the final two holes was certainly a much different feeling heading into the sudden death playoff. “I’m just thinking make par and don’t do too much,” he said. After the first three playoff holes were halved they headed to the par 5 4th hole and Ito stood at 240 yards out with a hybrid in hand. He put it on the back of the green about 40 feet from the pin, while Gotterup got on the green in three and had a 10-foot look at birdie. Ito’s eagle putt was nearly perfect, settling an inch short of the cup, which secured the birdie and forced Gotterup to have to make. As his cheering section looked on, Gotterup’s putt slipped just past, giving Ito the hard earned victory.
“That was pretty cool,” Gotterup said. “Having all the members and my friends that I play with out there watching, I almost had it,” the runner-up said. His gallery would have loved the win, but that didn’t mean he didn’t make them very proud today. He came from 3-down in the last five holes and nearly pulled off the improbable comeback. “He seemed a little rattled, so I thought I had a good chance,” Gotterup said. Before he heads into his sophomore year at Christian Brothers Academy he says he is going to head down South for a few tournaments and see what else may come about. The defeat didn’t come without a reward for his stellar play. This finish earns him an exemption into next year’s Carter Cup at Baltusrol.
Ito also earns an exemption into next year’s Carter Cup, as well as those that follow until he is 19 years old. He is coming off a win last week in Boston at the Golfweek Invitational, making this one his second win in a row, which means a lot to him. “I’m up there with a lot of great players and now that I get to be part of that, it’s great,” Ito said.
Next year's championship heads back to Gardiner's Bay, as part of the rotation for the MGA/MetLife Boys Championship. The year after will be at Bedford Golf & Tennis, and then it will return to Rumson.