FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 27, 2023) – Thirty-six holes were not enough to decide a champion, Tuesday, i 68th Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship on Brooklawn Country Clubas an MGA eClub – New Jersey member Melan Dhaubhadel survived Christian Knight of Hudson National in a three-hole overall playoff to win the title. Both players finished the championship at 7-under 203.
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Dhaubhadel made a trio of pars on Nos. 14-15-16 at Brooklawn, defeating Cavaliere by one shot, 10-11, when Cavaliere made a lone bogey with a three-putt on the par-3 15th. Dhaubhadel sealed the deal with an up and down behind the challenging green on the par-4 16th, causing his chip to land in the rough and slowly roll down to a few feet. After Cavaliere’s birdie bid slipped by, Dhaubhadel finished the job of etching his name in MGA history.
“The up and down on the last one was a good up and down to seal it,” said the 22-year-old, who also got up and down from the same spot in regulation. “To get up and down there twice today was special.”
A native of Berkshire, England, Dhaubhadel was playing in Ike for just the second time after finishing in the top 10 last year. He played his first year of college golf at Farleigh Dickinson University before transferring to the University of Louisiana Monroe, but he still returns to the area during the summer and caddies at Alpine Country Club.
“I was really nervous throughout the tournament,” Dhaubhadel said. “It’s good to see a lot of hard work pay off, so I’m really happy.”
Dhaubhadel opened the championship with a 4-under 66 on Monday, his round highlighted by an eagle-two on the par-4 13th, his second hole in the championship.
“I didn’t have my best stuff off the tee but kept it in play and my process was pretty good tee to green and then a couple of putts dropped and I found my way a couple under par,” he said of his opening round.
He continued the solid play Tuesday morning, firing a 1-under 69 to enter the final round in a five-way tie for first at 5-under par. Dhaubhadel opened with four consecutive pars and made the first jump with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. Although he added a bogey on the par-4 eighth, a birdie on the par-5 11th earned him yet another him solo lead role.
Dhaubhadel parred to card a 2-under 68 in the final round. While Dhaubhadel carried his own bag for most of the championship, he was brought along by a Brooklawn caddy from the crowd for the final five holes of the final round and into the playoff.
While co-leaders in the second round Brad Tilley by host Brooklawn and Colin Summers of Plainfield barely fell off the pace with rounds of 72 and 71, respectively. Cavaliere posted a 2-under 68 to force the playoff, while Charlie Berridge of Wykagyl lipped out a birdie look on the final hole to just miss the playoff and shoot a 1-under 69 for the solo three.
“I had no idea about any of my competitors throughout the tournament,” Dhaubhadel said. “I just focused on myself and controlled my own game. I just picked good targets all week. The putter was pretty hot today so it was a good day.”
For Dhaubhadel, the win means a lot not only for the status of his game but also on a personal level after facing some difficulties off the field.
“It’s been a really long time since I won,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with a few things – personal things – and it’s really good to keep pushing through the storm and come out with a win after it all.”
Summers finished solo fifth, while Nathan Hahn Salem and Tilley tied for fifth at 3-under for the championship. Sam Weiss century and Shane Bacon of Brooklawn is tied for seventh, with Bacon firing the low score in the final round with a 4-under 66.
Tilley and Bacon teamed up to win the Ike Team Championship, which is held concurrently with the Ike Championship. The title is awarded to the two people from the same club with the lowest total score for 54 holes.
The last host club to claim the team title was in 2016 when Ryan Souffer and Kieran Purcell claimed victory for Essex County Country Club. It was also the last year with a playoff for the title, as Cameron Young edged out Peter Kim.
Adam Friedman of Sterling Farms finished solo ninth at 1-under, while Charles Schrohe of burning wood, Pat Wilson of Hamilton Farm, Matt Ferrari of Metropolis, and Will O’Neill of Spring Brook all tied for 10th at even par. The top 10 all get waivers to the 121st Met Amateur Championship at Friar’s Head in August, in addition to next year’s Ike at Nassau Country Club.
Brooklawn and its historic AW Tillinghast layout welcomed Ike for the first time, continuing a streak of five consecutive first-time Ike hosts in recent years. Of course, the club is no stranger to championship golf, having previously hosted five USGA championships in addition to four previous MGA championships, including the 1919 Met Amateur.
The layout and its famous Tillinghast greens tested players, with only nine competitors finishing under par for the 54-hole championship. Dhaubhadel joins players such as Oswald Kirkby, Andy Svoboda and Mark Costanza as winners of MGA championships at the club.