Cameron Young repeats at the 'Ike'
Cameron Young with the 'Ike' trophy <br>(MGA Golf)</br>
Cameron Young with the 'Ike' trophy
(MGA Golf)

WEST ORANGE, NJ (June 28, 2016) -- A thrilling playoff put the exclamation point on an outstanding 61st Ike Championship, as Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow successfully defended his title in a playoff over Peter Kim of Royce Brook at Essex County Country Club on Tuesday. The pair’s 10-under 203 tournament total matched the Ike’s 54-hole scoring record, but Young claimed the prestigious Ike trophy once again on the fourth playoff hole by carding a par on the 18th hole in sudden death.

“I just kept putting one foot in front of the other,” Young remarked after the come-from-behind win. “It’s such a cliché, but that’s really what I did all day.” Young’s “one foot in front of the other” included a stellar morning round of 7-under 64, placing him just two strokes behind rising Army West Point senior Kim to enter the final round. The rising sophomore at Wake Forest then closed with a final round 68.

Overshadowed by the dramatics of the playoff was a clutch birdie on the 54th hole by Kim, which forced the initial three-hole aggregate playoff on Nos. 10-12. Both routinely scored a par-4 on the 10th, before a sand save by Kim on the 11th earned him a one-shot lead. Young stuffed his approach on the 12th to just a foot, inducing another one-shot swing and sending the playoff into sudden death. Kim found the bunker on his approach to 18. Young used a great lag putt from nearly 40 feet to secure par, while Kim’s par look missed wide.

“The way the golf course is set up, for me if I hit the driver well I’m going to have a lot of wedges in my hand,” explained Young, who was eight shots off the pace following Monday’s opening round. “So, I knew there was going to be a stretch somewhere along the line where I’d have a lot of birdies,” he continued. “I just tried to stay patient and wait for that to happen.” It certainly happened, as the now four-time MGA champion tallied 13 birdies and an eagle to just four bogies during his 40 holes of play on Tuesday.

“Yesterday I struggled a little bit with the irons, but just kind of held myself in there,” Young said. “This morning I hit a few close and made a couple—all right in a row, which kind of moved me from nowhere close to right back near the lead. It was nice to see a few go in.”

Young made adjustments on Monday evening, making a visit to the range alongside his father David Young, who caddied for him over the two days. “He doesn’t get to come to a lot of college tournaments or anything like that,” said Young regarding he and his dad’s often clashing schedules. “It was nice to have him there, especially for the whole tournament, to see the first shot I hit to the very end.”

With the win, Young became the 10th person to successfully defend the Ike title—the last being Cameron Wilson in 2012-13.

Kim, the reigning Met Amateur champion, played steadily through the day, recording two rounds of 1-under 70. He carded three bogies and two birdies in each round.

Stewart Hagestad of Deepdale was in the mix late Tuesday as well. The former USC golfer carded a 3-under 68 in the morning round and even grabbed a piece of the lead following back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 in the afternoon. But, a pair of bogies coming in dropped him back to 8-under 205 for third-place honors.

Kieran Purcell of Essex County and Trevor Randolph of Arcola were one of three players to card 4-under 67 on Tuesday afternoon, jumping them up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth at 5-under 208.

MGA eClub New Jersey member Michael Graboyes went 68-71 over the final 36 holes to take solo sixth at 3-under 210.

MGA eClub – Westchester/Fairfield member Paul Pastore also shot 67 Tuesday afternoon, leading a four-way tie for seventh place at 1-under 212 which also included Evan Grenus of Sterling Farms, James Nicholas of Winged Foot and Christian Cavaliere of Mahopac.

The top ten finishers are exempt into this year’s Met Amateur at Country Club of Fairfield and into the 2017 Ike. Young receives 250 MGA Player of the Year points with his victory.

The Ike Team Championship, which is awarded to the two individuals representing the same club who have the lowest 54-hole combined total score, was claimed by the host club, Essex County, behind the efforts of Purcell and Ryan Snouffer.

The Ike Championship was the first MGA event hosted by Essex County Country Club since the 2011 Mid-Amateur, and the first MGA major hosted by the club since 1987—also being the Ike Championship.

The Ike returns to Westchester in 2017, when Century Country Club hosts the first major of the season, June 26-27.

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The Ike tournament was founded in 1953 by Daily News sportswriter Dana Mozley and nurtured through the years by Mozley and former MGA President George Sands. Although always immensely popular, the event suffered during the late 1970s and early ‘80s after The Daily News dropped its sponsorship. In 1986, the MGA (with the financial support of MetLife) purchased the rights to the Ike. With the MGA’s involvement, the event regained its stature and quickly became the area’s premier stroke-play amateur event. The Ike today attracts more entries than any other MGA championship for individuals. The Ike is Open to male golfers who are members of an MGA member club. 54-hole stroke play championship with a cut after the first round.

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