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East Tennessee State’s Remi Chartier repeats at St. Petersburg’s prestigious amateur event

The sophomore edges Georgia Tech’s Aidan Kramer on the first playoff hole in the New Year’s Invitational.
East Tennessee State sophomore Remi Chartier sends his short approach toward the first playoff hole green during the 96th annual New Year's tournament Sunday afternoon.
East Tennessee State sophomore Remi Chartier sends his short approach toward the first playoff hole green during the 96th annual New Year's tournament Sunday afternoon. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published Jan. 10

ST. PETERSBURG — On the first playoff hole Sunday afternoon at the 96th annual New Year’s Invitational, defending champion Remi Chartier stood over a 100-yard, downwind approach from a fluffy lie to the first hole’s little green.

Chartier’s wedge nipped the ball just right, landing it 8 feet short of the flag, where it bounded up to within 2 1/2 feet of the hole.

A few minutes later, Chartier rolled in the winning putt and shook hands with runnerup Aidan Kramer, a Georgia Tech redshirt freshman who started the final day four strokes off Chartier’s lead.

“I was fortunate to judge that last (approach) the way I did,” said Chartier, a sophomore at East Tennessee State. “I didn’t think (the ball) ended up being that close because I couldn’t really see it (from the fairway).”

For Chartier — who felt stronger than he did this time last year when he was recovering from a stress fracture in his back — it was another satisfying ending to one of the nation’s most prestigious four-round amateur events at the par-72 St. Petersburg Country Club, where the weather stayed warm and the greens steadily firmed up.

Chartier ended up shooting 68-73-65-73—279 to tie Kramer (69-70-71-69—279) in regulation at 9-under par.

Remi Chartier, right, shakes hands with Georgia Tech redshirt freshman Aidan Kramer moments after Chartier sank a 2.5-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
Remi Chartier, right, shakes hands with Georgia Tech redshirt freshman Aidan Kramer moments after Chartier sank a 2.5-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

Unlike most players who chose to ride in a cart, Chartier walked the final two days with his father, Scott Chartier, serving as his caddie. Chartier said he got into a groove with his dad and felt calm the whole time, including on the final hole, the par-5 18th, where a 10-foot eagle putt would have sealed the victory outright.

The putt was a slick, downhiller with a 2-foot break. Chartier tapped it but it scooted 4 1/2 feet past, leaving a tough right-to-left birdie bender to tie. Chartier stepped up and rattled it in.

“I knew I had to make (the final putt), so I just did what I had done all week, I just read it as well as I could and stroked it as well as I could,” Chartier said.

As for Chartier’s back, it is a daily a grind to keep it strong and limber.

“The past 365 days the back has been pretty good because I’ve stayed on top of it,” said Chartier, a Naples native. “It’s about keeping my core strong, and keeping with the repetition thing. I have to work out all the time.”

The playoff was the fifth for the highly-competitive tournament since 2010.

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