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Ouimet Memorial

Gilmartin wins in playoff

By Michael Whitmer
Globe Staff / July 30, 2011

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NEWTON - A costly three-putt by leader John Gilmartin on the 17th hole yesterday helped create what’s believed to be the first four-man playoff in the 44-year history of the Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament. Given another chance - two, actually - Gilmartin used his trusty putter to end it.

Gilmartin birdied both holes of the playoff - making a 15-footer on the first hole at Woodland Golf Club, then a 12-footer on No. 16 - to outlast teenage sensation Chelso Barrett and become a two-time Ouimet winner, seven years after claiming his first title.

“I didn’t make many putts all day, and then finally made two putts when it really counted,’’ said Gilmartin, who plays out of Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover. “It feels good. I haven’t won anything in a long time.’’

Gilmartin, after rounds of 68 at Charles River Country Club and 69 at Dedham Country & Polo Club, took a three-shot lead into the final round, but shot 75 and was caught at 1-under-par 212 by Barrett (71), Ryan Riley (70), and Peter Williamson (72).

Bogeys on three of his final six holes in regulation - on both back-nine par 3s, and the three-putt on No. 17 - helped bring Gilmartin back to the field, but he was kicking himself over another three-putt, the one on the par-5 12th when he reached the green in two but walked away with par. Williamson and Barrett both birdied the 17th to get close to Gilmartin’s lead, while Riley had two birdies in a three-hole stretch on Nos. 9-11, then parred in from No. 12.

In the playoff, Riley and Williamson missed birdie putts on the 301-yard first hole, but Gilmartin’s downhill 15-footer was true, then matched by Barrett from 4 feet, sending two home.

Moving to the 16th, both players found the fairway off the tee and the green with their second shots on the 354-yard hole. Barrett, a 16-year-old from Keene, N.H., who lost in the championship match of last week’s US Junior Amateur, slid his birdie putt past the hole, opening the door for Gilmartin, who was facing a similar putt to the one he had roughly an hour before, when he was playing No. 16 in regulation. That birdie putt stopped inches short. The second one found the bottom of the cup.

“I was about 5 feet closer to the hole on the exact same line I had earlier,’’ Gilmartin said. “I knew the line.’’

Barrett, despite coming close to victory against elite amateurs for the second time in six days, was in no mood to look on the bright side.

“I guess I’ve got to get better. It’s not good enough,’’ Barrett said. “I didn’t swing good enough this week to really play great golf.

“He went birdie-birdie. He deserves it.’’

Gilmartin becomes just the fourth player to win multiple Ouimet titles. Defending champion Frank Vana Jr., who has a record five, shot 72 and tied for seventh.

Barrett’s bid to become the youngest Ouimet champion came up just short, but Megan Khang did just that in the women’s division. The 13-year-old from Rockland hit 16 greens in regulation and holed a 3-footer for par on the 18th hole to shoot 71, one shot better than fellow teen Isabel Southard. Khang’s score marks the first time the women’s division champion has finished under par.

Mike Cole overcame a three-shot deficit heading into the final round, shooting a 72 to win the senior division by four shots over Paul Murphy (75) and defending senior division winner Jack Kearney (71).

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com.