Pittsford, N.Y. – Adding his biggest accomplishment to an already successful calendar 2022, Georgia Tech’s Bartley Forrester holed out for an eagle on the 17th hole to protect a dwindling lead and completed a three-stroke victory at the 81st Monroe Invitational.
Forrester finished the tournament with an 11-under-par total of 269 for the four-round event. Ohio State senior Jackson Chandler used a late charge to finish three shots back at 8-under 272, while Rutgers senior Luke Wells finished third at 7-under 273.
The Yellow Jacket rising senior had put together rounds of 69-65-64 in the first three rounds to build a six-stroke lead entering the final day. But he was 3-over for his round through 16 holes Saturday, and his lead had shrunk to just one after Chandler made birdie at the par-3 16th.
Forrester stepped to the tee at 17, a par-4 measuring 407 yards, and hit a solid drive, then jarred his wedge from 72 yards out for an eagle 2, restoring his lead to three shots after Chandler made par. Both players parred the 18th.
“That shot (on 17) won the tournament for me essentially,” said Forrester, ranked 113th according to World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). “I kind of let the lead slip away on the back nine, so I knew I needed to make something happen on the final two holes. I’ve hit that drive really well all week and I just stood up and crushed one down the middle.
“I’d say my wedge game has probably been the strength of my game. So I had a good number in. I was trying to skip it, probably land it seven, eight feet short and bounce it up there, but it ended up just flying right in the cup. I don’t know if I’ve flown a wedge in like that before, so it was pretty cool.”
Said Chandler, whose final-round 68 was one of just four sub-par scores on Saturday: “I hit my approach on 17 to about 12 feet and then he flew his approach into the hole. It was cool to see, but kind of bittersweet.”
After a bogey-free round on Friday, Forrester’s Saturday score included five bogeys and two birdies. His Tech teammates, seniors Connor Howe and Andy Mao, tied for 18th place with 2-over-par scores of 282, while junior Aidan Kramer tied for 45th place at 289 (+9).
Forrester became the second Georgia Tech golfer in the last three tournaments to win the Monroe Invitational, joining Andy Ogletree, who won the title in 2019 ahead of his U.S. Amateur triumph.
“Oh, it’s awesome,” Forrester said. “I know my old teammate Andy Ogletree won here a few years ago and a lot of other big names have won here, so it’s a great golf course and I’m really excited to have my name added to the list of winners here.”
He is the third different Georgia Tech player to win a major amateur event since December. Kramer won the Rice Planters Amateur last week, while Howe captured the Patriot All-America Invitational in December.
Forrester was the co-medalist at the U.S. Amateur qualifier two weeks ago at The Standard Club in Johns Creek, Ga., and tied for third at the Dogwood Invitational in June. His 2021-22 collegiate season included a share of the title at The Calusa Cup and three other top-10 finishes, and he was the Yellow Jackets’ top finisher at the NCAA Championship, tying for 15thplace. The Gainesville, Ga., native made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team and earned honorable mention All-America recognition by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Next up for Forrester is the Southern Amateur next week in St. Simons Island, Ga., and he’s scheduled to play the Western Amateur in Highland Park, Ill., in early August before competing in the U.S. Amateur, Aug. 15-21 in Paramus, N.J.
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