PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — With a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Monroe Invitational, it seemed like Georgia Tech’s Bartley Forrester was set for a routine victory on Saturday.
He needed a shot that was anything but to secure the win.
With his lead down to just one shot on the 17th hole, Forrester was 72 yards out in the fairway after a nice drive. He took aim with his lob wedge and found nothing but the bottom of the hole.
Forrester’s eagle gave him a three-shot lead at 11-under which he would maintain for the victory.
“I’d say my wedge game is probably the strength of my game,” said Forrester after the round. “I had a good number in, I was trying to skip it, land it seven or eight feet short and bounce it up there but it ended up flying right in on the fly, so it was pretty cool. I don’t know if I’ve ever flown in a wedge before on the fly”
“It was a big sigh of relief. I was kind of feeling the nerves, especially starting on the back nine when it got cut down to only two or three shots,” added Forrester. “To do that then have a three-shot cushion coming up 18 was really big. “
Forrester’s lead started to shrink when the Georgia Tech standout made bogeys on the second and sixth holes.
His playing partner Jackson Chandler from Ohio State started the day at six-under, six shots back of Forrester. Chandler made a bogey on five, but birdied seven, nine, and made a long putt on ten to cut the lead to just two shots.
In the group ahead of them, Luke Wells from Rutgers made the turn at two-under to tie Chandler and get two back of Forrester. A birdie on the par-five 12th briefly put him one off the lead, but a bogey on 13 hurt his chances. He finished with pars the rest of the round and never got back within one.
Forrester finally found his first birdie of the day on 12, but bogeyed the next two holes as his lead shrunk to just a shot over Chandler.
On 15, Forrester rose to the occasion and stuck his iron in close while Chandler went just off the back of the green. Forrester made his birdie putt while Chandler couldn’t get up and down to put the lead back at three.
On 16, it was Chandler sticking his iron on the long par 3 while Forrester’s shot found the rough to the left of the green. Chandler would birdie and Forrester would bogey, setting up the theatrics on 17.
With a three-shot lead after his hole-out, Forrester found the fairway off the tee on 18 and hit it to the center of the green to secure the victory, the second time in the last three tournaments that a Georgia Tech product rose the trophy.
“I know my old teammate Andy Ogletree won here a few years ago and a lot of other big names have won here,” said Forrester. “It’s a great golf course and I’m really excited to have my name added to the list of winners here.”
Wells would finish in third at seven-under. Rochester’s Yaroslav Merkulov continued his strong play on Saturday and finished three-under for the tournament, good for fourth place.
After making the cut on the number, Rochester native Christopher Blyth shot up the leaderboard, tying the low round of the day with a 68 and finishing tied for eleventh. Pittsford native Will Thomson shot four-over on Saturday, putting him tied for 30th at plus-four for the week. The full leaderboard can be found on the tournament’s website.