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Fernandes Victorious at Gardiner's Bay

SHELTER ISLAND, N.Y. (July 28,2023) Ken Fernandes of Chappaqua, N.Y., took home the trophy at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club in the 55th MGA/Metlife Boy’s Championship. The third time's the charm for Fernandes, as he has played in this event every year since 2021.

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Throughout the two day tournament, players were faced with challenging weather. Thursday brought intense winds while temperatures reached above ninety degrees on Friday. Despite the unfavorable conditions, Fernandes kept his head in the right place.

“I just had to play smart," said the 14-year-old. "I had to focus on beating the course, not my opponent.”

In the morning, Fernandes went head to head with Edward Molloy of Rye, N.Y. Fernandes got off to a fast start, gaining the early lead with birdies on the first two holes. He went on to hold that lead for the rest of the match, never dropping below a one-hole lead. The match ended on the 16th hole, with Fernandes winning by a 4-and-2 margin.

Fernandes went on to face Holden Schipper of Lebanon, N.J., in the final round. Once again, he got off to another early lead, going 1-up after the second hole. However, a strong stretch from Schipper led to his own wins on Nos. 4-6 holes to earn Schipper a 2-up lead. After going back and forth on holes seven and eight and a tie on hole nine, the front nine finished with Schipper leading 2-up. 

Momentum started to build for Fernandes on the back nine though. After winning Nos. 10-12, Fernandes regained the lead and felt his mindset change.

“Hole 12 was a turning point, where I struck a nine iron to six feet and made the birdie putt," he recalled. "I felt good at that point.”

After continuing his win streak on Nos. 13 and 14, Fernandes was extended his lead to 3-up. Although Schipper fought back with a win on 16, a tie on the 17th left Fernandes victorious.

“It feels great to win," he said. "I don’t have many words to describe it, it’s a little bit surreal.”

Gardiner's Bay Country Club hosted the championship for the 14th time since 1985. It has served as the victory site for numerous rising star players including now area professionals Greg Bisconti (St. Andrew's) and Tyler Hall (Upper Montclair), two-time MGA Player of the Year Mark Costanza, and standouts Nathan Han and Luke Sample.