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Chen Storms to Ike Championship Title

GLEN COVE, N.Y. (June 26, 2024)Peicheng Chen of Rock Hill saved his best for last and fired a 5-under par 65 in the final round to win the 69th Ike Stroke Play Championship on Wednesday at Nassau Country Club

“It was a true test out there,” said Chen afterward. Didn’t really work on the first two rounds but in the third, my putter got hot. I am happy with how I played.” 

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Chen’s 65 was the round of the week and two shots better than the next low round--a 67 shot by Colin Summers of Plainfield in round one on Tuesday. The 65 also ties the second-lowest final round score in championship history, matching a 65 from Johnson Wagner in 2002.

The win is Chen’s second MGA triumph, having also won the the 2022 Public Links Championship. The rising senior at St. John's University has also collected titles at the Long Island Amateur (2022) and New York State Open (2023) in recent years and this spring was the BIG EAST individual champion.

Four straight birdies on the back nine helped erase Chen’s six-shot deficit that he faced entering the final round. After making the turn at 1-under with a birdie on No. 9, Chen birdied the par-4 12th, 13th, and 14th holes before making birdie on the par-5 15th as well.

Chen added, “[On 14] I would say maybe 90 feet or 100 feet away from the pin. [The putt was] uphill and downhill. I just try to get myself around the pin and give myself a chance to make a birdie, but somehow I ended up with two feet around the hole and I make a good birdie.”

Then, on No. 15, Chen was on the green in regulation and drilled a down-hill putt for his four. Chen followed the four birdies with three pars to close his round. The 21-year-old got up and down from the greenside bunker on 17 before two-putting for par on 18, where he hit the flag with his second shot. 

“And 17 that par safe was clutch to and to keep myself in a good position to an 18. [On 18] I got real lucky. I hit the flag for my approach and somehow ended up in 10 ft around the pen. If I didn't hit the flag, I ended up over the green.” 

Jack Wall of Manasquan River finished in second at 2-over. Wall was the solo leader heading into the final round before carding a 4-over 74. Wall was even par for the day through seven holes, but three bogeys and a double-bogey on the opening nine dropped the 23-year-old out of the lead. Wall added bogeys on Nos. 10 and 17 before closing with birdie on No. 18 to finish at 4-over for the final round. 

In solo third was Tim Hegarty of Sleepy Hollow at 3-over. Hegarty recorded a 1-over 71 in the final round, spurred on by an eagle on the par-4 12th and birdie on the par-3 16th. The eagle was the only one made in the championship. 

Nathan Han of Salem and Pat Wilson of Hamilton Farm finished tied for fourth at 4-over for the championship. Han shot an even-par 70 in the final round, Wilson a 2-over 72.  

Adam Freidman of Sterling Farms recorded a 1-under 69 as the only other sub-par round Wednesday afternoon. Freidman had three birdies and two bogeys to finish tied for 10th at 7-over. 

The 2017 Ike champion Matthew Lowe of Bethpage finished tied for sixth with last year’s Met Amateur champion Josh German of Meadow Brook. 

The top 10 finishers, including ties, are exempt into this year’s Met Amateur and next year’s Ike. Hamilton Farm Golf Club will host the Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship in 2025 for the 70th playing of the championship.

Wilson and Reed Greyserman of Hamilton Farm combined to win the Ike Team Championship, which is conducted concurrently with the Ike Championship. The title is awarded to the two individuals from the same club with the lowest combined score for 54 holes. Wilson and Greyserman edged Meadow Brook Club -- led by German and Peter Scialabba -- by a single shot. Its Hamilton Farms' second time claiming the championship in three years, with Wilson and Mark Costanza earning the title in 2022 at Baltusrol.

Nassau was welcoming the ike for the third time, hosting its record 14th MGA major. It last welcomed the Ike in 2009 when Mike Ballo, Jr., -- another St. John's golfer -- claimed the title. As a founding member of the MGA, the club has been a longtime supporter of MGA championships, first hosting the Met Amateur in 1900.

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