ST. ALBANS, Mo — Chris Brant made sure his first professional victory was one to remember Saturday at the ninth Metropolitan Open Golf Championship.
A 2008 graduate of Edwardsville High School, Brant rallied late to force a playoff with Lawrence, Kan., native Chris Thompson then clinched the $15,000 first-prize check with a par on the seventh-extra hole on a sweltering afternoon at the Country Club of St. Albans.
"What does it mean to me? It means the world. There have been a lot of times over the past two years where I've had chances to win, but just couldn't close them out." Brant said. "It's nice to win for my first time and especially for it to come here in St. Louis. My dad (Steve) was here and I had a friend from high school (Carson Baugher) caddie for me. So to win close to Edwardsville is very special.
"It's also nice to win at the open championship here. It's a great field and great venue, a real test this week."
The 2013 tournament runner-up, Thompson saw a three-shot lead vanish in the 90-degree heat on the back nine and when he made a bogey on the par-4 17th hole, he was tied at 5-under.
Brant, playing two groups ahead of Thompson, made par on the tough 18th to finish with a 67 for the day and 54-hole score of 205.
Playing a four-hole playoff to decide the winner, Brant drew first blood when he made par on the 15th hole, while Thompson made a bogey.
The two players then both made pars on holes 16 and 17. Brant, however, had a three-putt green on the 18th hole for bogey and when Thompson tapped in for par, the two were headed for sudden death.
Brant, who barely missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the second sudden death hole, got the break he needed when Thompson, playing the 18th hole for a fifth time in less than two hours, hit his drive into the trees.
He then chipped out and hit his third shot into a greenside bunker.
With Brant on the green and looking at a 20-foot birdie putt, Thompson's fourth shot came up 10 feet short of the pin. Thompson then walked over, shook Brant's hand to concede the win.
"I thought if I could come out and make a few putts early today, that I might have a shot. I played well on Thursday, then didn't play as well on Friday, when I shot 71,'' Brant said. "It's been a while since I've won. I won a tournament my senior year of college (at the University of Iowa), so it had been a couple of years.
"The check $15,000 is my biggest as a professional, so it will come in handy. I will spend it very wisely.''
Thompson won $7,750 for his runner-up finish while Chad Sadalin (206) placed third.
The heat and humidity didn't seem to seem to faze former Waterloo player Mitchell Gregson, who won the Metropolitan Open two years ago on the same Country Club at St. Albans Course.
Now a member of the South American PGA Tour, Gregson rebounded from previous rounds of 70 and 73 to shoot a 1-under 69 and finished at 2-over 212.
"It felt good to go out and put a red number on the scoreboard today. My swing was a little loose the last couple of days. We made some corrections and it was a lot better,'' Gregson said. "It's always great to come to St. Albans.''
Belleville native Phil Caravia finished his 54 holes at 213
Among the group at 9-over par 219 were local players Wils Hawn and Parker Lawrence.
Hawn, a former Waterloo High School standout, shot a 3-over-par 73 while Lawrence, who starred at Mater Dei, carded a 75.