July 12, 2018

Benjamin Pochet eyes his tee shot on No. 12 (par 4, 397 yards).

Persistent Pochet makes history, defends Christman Cup crown

  EXTON, Pa. — Benjamin Pochet ended 2017 as the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior Player of the Year — a distinction of merit, one based on exceptional and consistent play.

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  But Thursday, the incoming Drexel University freshman received an email from men’s golf coach Ben Feld that he, among other team members, wasn’t performing at the level expected for the Division I program.

  “There’s definitely some pressure to keep performing now that I am on Drexel’s team,” said Pochet. “Drexel bases their fall lineup to start based on how you play in the summer because of how late they start school. Coach Feld sent an email today that said that two of the guys have separated themselves and the others haven’t been good. Today definitely helped me a lot.”

  Pochet erased all doubt by carding a sizzling final round of 67 to claim the 19th Christman Cup at Whitford Country Club (par 72, 6,601 yards). He filed a 3-under-par 141 to clear The Springhaven Club’s Kevin Smith by three strokes.

  Pochet’s Christman record is sensational: runner-up (2016) and back-to-back victories.

  Through the first 13 holes of his first round, Pochet stood at 5 over after going triple bogey-bogey on Nos. 12 (par 5, 500 yards) and 13 (par 3, 143 yards). He sailed his 3-wood out-of-bounds on the first. At that point, Pochet had one steep hill to climb to get himself back into contention.

  “So far this season, it has been a little bit of a grind,” said Pochet, 18, of Royersford, Pa. “I had a bad hole in the Spring Ford Club Championship qualifying this weekend and I bounced back from that well. I knew I could recover.”

  Pochet played the final five holes of his first round in 3 under, including consecutive birdies on Nos. 17 (par 3, 183 yards) and 18 (par 4, 390 yards): a 7-iron to 40 feet, a wedge 120 yards to 10 feet on the latter. Pochet said he felt that he put himself back into the tournament and gained some momentum with that run.

  He sure did.

  Pochet birdied the first four holes of his second round (Nos. 10-13), making it six consecutive if you included the two that closed his opening round. With how he had been playing to start the year, you wouldn’t think this was the same golfer.

  “I had no expectations coming into this tournament,” said Pochet. I wasn’t feeling great last night and I had a fever. I just ate a good meal and went to bed. To be honest, since I haven’t been playing well this year I think that helped me.”

  Pochet rolled in a 40-footer on No. 10 and a 30-footer on No. 11 each for birdie. That was the kick-start he needed. Pochet launched a hybrid onto the No. 12 (par 5, 500 yards) fringe and two-putted for a 4 there. He stopped a pitching wedge at 12 feet on No. 13 (par 3, 149 yards) to tie Smith for the lead at 2 under.

  After turning in 31, Pochet kept the pedal to the floor by converting a 12-footer for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 377 yards) as a result of a pure 8-iron from 167 yards.

  Pochet gave two shots back on the only par 3s on the front nine: Nos. 2 (192 yards) and 5 (117 yards). A misjudged 7-iron left him short-sided in the front greenside bunker on No. 2 and a three-putt cost him a shot on No. 5.

  He approached No. 9 (par 5, 499 yards) with a good idea of what he needed to do to close out his final-round charge.

  “Knowing that someone else might come in at 1 or 2 under, I thought if I parred No. 9 I would have a good chance to win,” said Pochet. “I played it safe just like I did this morning and hit a 4-iron off the tee. I missed it 10 yards right of my line and hit a punch to 90 yards. I just wanted to put good speed on the 12-footer for birdie after a solid wedge shot. I was fine with a two-putt but it was nice to see it go in.”

  Pochet’s final round included nine birdies, a personal best in tournament play, as well as six birdies on an individual nine, which was also a personal best.

  For someone who struggled to find his way early in this tournament season, the lesson is that perseverance conquers.

  “It’s really cool,” said Pochet about being the first to win consecutive Chirstman titles. “I don’t believe I have ever defended a title in my career. This event has been good to me in my time as a Junior.”

  Through 54 holes of the Harry Hammond Award race, both Pochet and Smith are tied at even-par 215. The last leg of the Harry Hammond is the Jock Mackenzie Memorial on July 16 at Sandy Run Country Club.

  The Harry Hammond Award is presented to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys' Championship, the Christman Cup and Jock MacKenzie Memorial.

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for the Golf Association of Philadelphia who retired in January 2000.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, club

R1-R2–Total

Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club

74-67–141

Kevin Smith, The Springhaven Club

70-74–144

Jake McCloskey, Radley Run Country Club

75-72–147

Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country Club

75-73–148

Drew Warner, Saucon Valley Country Club

73-76–149

Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

75-74–149

Joshua Ryan, Junior Players Club

70-79–149

Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club

79-71–150

Andreas Aivazoglou, Rolling Green Golf Club

76-74–150

Nikita Romanov, Junior Players Club

73-77–150

Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club

79-72–151

Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

74-77–151

Anthony Barr, Blue Bell Country Club

73-78–151

Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club

76-76–152

Austin Barbin, Junior Players Club

75-77–152

Charlie Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club

78-75–153

Mac Costin, Merion Golf Club

76-77–153

Ryan D'Ariano, Penn Oaks Golf Club

77-76–153

Troy Kelleher, Country Club of Scranton

76-77–153

J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club

74-79–153

Griffin Foll, Yardley Country Club

76-77–153

Hayden Moffat, Lu Lu Country Club

76-78–154

Jack Sullivan, The Shore Club

80-74–154

Ryan McCabe, The Springhaven Club

80-74–154

Max Rubin, Little Mill Country Club

78-76–154

Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club

75-79–154

Connor Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

80-75–155

Ty Brinker, Wilmington Country Club

79-77–156

William Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

78-78–156

Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club

78-78–156

Patrick Laushell, Yardley Country Club

75-81–156

Christopher Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

80-77–157

Sam Walker, St. Davids Golf Club

80-77–157

Roy Anderson, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

79-78–157

Frankie Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

78-79–157

Noah Schwartz, Woodcrest Country Club

79-78–157

Andrew Curran, Philadelphia Cricket Club

76-82–158

Danny Dougherty, DuPont Country Club

79-79–158

Nicholas FioravanteLedgeRock Golf Club

79-79–158

Cole Shew, Hershey's Mill Golf Club

77-82–159

Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

78-82–160

Michael Mitnick, Galloway National Golf Club

81-79–160

Darren Nolan, Talamore Country Club

82-78–160

Jake MaddaloniAronimink Golf Club

80-80–160

Jack Ross, Medford Lakes Country Club

81-80–161

Jack Hamilton, St. Davids Golf Club

80-81–161

Kyle Quagliero, Medford Lakes Country Club

84-77–161

Cal BuonocoreLlanerch Country Club

79-82–161

Thomas Butler, Indian Valley Country Club

80-81–161

Corey Haydu, Commonwealth National Golf Club

81-80–161

Evan Barbin, Junior Players Club

79-83–162

Frank Rauscher, IV, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale

82-81–163

Matthew Law, Yardley Country Club

84-80–164

Keller Mulhern, Whitford Country Club

84-80–164

Jack Murray, Stonewall

81-84–165

Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia Country Club

82-83–165

Matthew Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club

85-80–165

Joseph MorgantiLlanerch Country Club

81-84–165

Jack Habeeb, Country Club of Scranton

77-88–165

Nick Schnur, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

80-86–166

Robbie Copit, Green Valley Country Club

81-85–166

Ryan Kennedy, Applecross Country Club

85-83–168

Nick Martin, Blue Bell Country Club

87-82–169

Joshua Brown, The Shore Club

85-85–170

Andrew Catania, Blue Bell Country Club

86-85–171

Christopher Knox, Downingtown Country Club

82-89–171

Hayden Greer, Laurel Creek Country Club

87-85–172

Connor Kelleher, Country Club of Scranton

89-84–173

John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club

85-89–174

Nicky Scarpone, The Springhaven Club

89-86–175

Jake Doyle, Little Mill Country Club

92-88–180

Alec Stern, Philadelphia Country Club

91-92–183

Owen Heffernan, Jericho National Golf Club

NS-NS–NS

James O'Malley, Junior Players Club

80-WD–WD

Zach BruecksInniscrone Golf Club

91-WD–WD

Case Hummer, Aronimink Golf Club

WD-WD–WD

 

NS-no show; WD-withdrawal

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