ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–Marcus Smith came close to winning the Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Match Play Invitational last year when he was the runner-up. This year he has taken the next step. The Winnebago resident defeated Garrett Ralston 4 &2 Sunday in the championship match to claim the title.

Smith jumped out to a 3-hole lead through the first six holes. That was cut to one hole when he hit his second shot out of bounds on the tenth hole, and then he missed a short putt on the 11th, but Smith knocked down key putts on the 14th and 15th holes to cement the win. It was over on the 16th after Ralston slid a putt just past the cup for bogey while Smith knocked in a parr putt.

“I felt pretty good,” said Smith. “I mean, my game feels good. I just got upset at myself at some mistakes I made that I feel like I shouldn’t have, but my caddy kept me in the right head space.”

“I just enjoy match play because the emotions run high, and I think it’s a good way to kick off the summer.”

Smith plans to play in the Greater Rockford Men’s Golf Classic later this year. He won that event in 2020. In high school at Winnebago he was the 1A state champion in 2018.

In this event, Smith defeated Brian Silvers 4 & 3 in the semifinals. Smith recently completed his sophomore year at Eastern Michigan University, but he is planning to transfer to another school. He’s undecided at this time which one.