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Chen Charges Back for Public Links Title

MGA President Andy Stock & Chen

WEST ORANGE, N.J. (June 16, 2022) -- Endurance and some afternoon firepower was key for Peicheng Chen of Rock Hill Golf and Country Club as he grinded through a 36-hole day with scores of 73-65 to secure the victory in the 74th MGA Public Links Championship at Rock Spring Golf Club.

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The championship featured a clustered leaderboard after the first round, with the St. John's University golfer Chen beginning his afternoon round four behind the 1-under 69 pace set by MGA eClub - New York City member Ted King and two-time past champion Jonathan Jeter of Nassau Players. A flawless afternoon round that included six birdies vaulted him up the leaderboard and led to the victory.

“I didn’t get a chance to play a practice round, so the morning round was more of just getting used to the course,” stated Chen, who set the Bethpage Yellow course record (62) to qualify for the championship. “In the afternoon, I could play my game a lot more, be aggressive, and make something happen.”

Chen made up ground on the front nine of his second round, but a late charge that included birdies on Nos. 14,15, and 16 was the key to him overcoming his pre-round deficit to the leaders. “I was getting tired and sore at the end of the second round, but playing college golf, where we play 36 holes in a single day every tournament, helped me because I was used to these kinds of days.”

Chen's furious finish helped him hold off Jeter, who found his groove after a rough start to the afternoon. He began the second round with five bogeys over his first six holes, but a birdie on the par-4 seventh changed sparked momentum. Jeter went out in 4-over 38, but closed strong with four more birdies on the way in en route to his final round 70 and 1-under total.

Rock Spring proved to be a stern test for the region's top public competitors as just Chen and Jeter finished under par. “This is definitely a tricky golf course and I was struggling to save pars in the morning round because of all the punishment around the greens,” said Chen.

The serious fall-off areas around the green, which Chen referenced, forced players’ iron play to be precise - an area in which Chen excelled. “Luckily in the second round, I was much better with my irons, hit a bunch of shots close, and didn’t have to chip too much,” explained Chen, who made just one bogey in his second round. The challenging characteristics that Chen referenced are signature items of the Seth Raynor-designed course, which is one of just two courses open to the public that were designed by the heralded architect.

First round leader Ted King carded a 1-over 71 in the final round to finish in third at even-par, while MGA eClub - New Jersey member Jason Lee posted rounds of 73-70 for his solo fourth finish. MGA eClub - Long Island members Christopher O'Keefe (72-27) and Liam Miller (75-69) rounded out the top five with matching 4-over 144s on the day.