Edwardsville pro Chris Brant captured the ninth Metropolitan Open on Saturday at The Country Club of St. Albans.
Starting the final round 3 shots back of three others, Brant closed strong with birdies on 14 and 16 to get to the clubhouse at 5-under and wait for the final groups to complete play.
Chris Thompson, of Lawrence, Kan., playing in the final pairing with Missouri gradaute Jace Long, had polar opposite nines in the final round. Thompson made the turn with a 4-shot lead; however, bogeys at 11, 15 and 17 would bring him back to 5-under and tie Brant at the completion of play three-round scores of 205.
Thompson and Brant would go to Hole 15 for the third playoff in MAGA Open history, the first between two golf professionals. The playoff format called for a 4-hole aggregate score. Thompson would bogey the par 3 15th to fall behind one shot to Brant. After both making pars at 16 and 17, Brant would bogey the 18th to again tie Thompson.
The 480 yard par 4 18th on the Lewis & Clark course would be the stage for extra holes. Each would make par the first time around. Playing the 18th for the third time would prove to be the deciding hole. Thompson drove his ball in the hazard left and would take two shots to get out. Brant, finding the fairway with his drive, would hit his approach on the green and two putt for par and the victory.
It was Brant’s first professional victory.
“It means a lot, it’s nice to win for my first time and especially for it to come here in St. Louis…this is home for me,” Brant said. “(It’s) Nice to win at the Open Championship here, it’s a great field and great venue, a real test this week.”
With his victory, Brant adds his name to the James S. Manion Trophy and a $15,500 first place check.
Alex Cusumano was the low junior for the second conseucutive year, Cusuamano, a Westminster Christian Academy and Loyola of Chicago graduate, finished fourth with a 207.