124th BMW Philadelphia Amateur: Day Three - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Barbin, Fricke meet for J. Wood Platt Amateur Trophy title

LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa.–The 124th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Final is set. Austin Barbin of Chesapeake Bay Golf Club faces Aaron Fricke of LuLu Country Club at 7 a.m. Saturday at Whitemarsh Valley Country (par 72, 6,919 yards) in the 36-hole title match. Both players are in search of a first GAP Major title.

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Semifinal 12. Austin Barbin vs. 11. Jake Haberstumpf

Barbin is attempting to pull off the rarest of doubles. Last Sunday, Barbin defeated Jake Roth of Lakewood Country Club, 7&6, for the Maryland State Golf Association Amateur Championship. In less than a week’s time, he’s hopeful to add the most prestigious trophy in GAP, the J. Wood Platt Amateur Trophy.

Barbin would be the first to hoist both. He would also be the first Chesapeake Bay member to win the Amateur. When brother Zach took the 2020 Philadelphia Amateur, he played out of Loch Nairn Golf Club.

The family element is strong for the Barbin brood.

The two would be the fourth brother act to share a spot in the Amateur pantheon joining Albert H. and William P. Smith; J. Wood and Zimmer Platt and Ray and Andy Thompson. The Thompsons were the last duo engraved on the sterling silver trophy (Ray, 1972; Andy, 1986/1998).

If Barbin is successful, the first person he’ll see for a championship hug is father Andy. Andy is a regular caddie and right-hand man for one of his competitive sons. First it was for Andrew, Jr. and Zach. Now it is Austin and younger brother Evan.

“I don’t think he would miss [it] unless he rolls an ankle or gets the flu,” said Barbin with a smile. “My dad is my role model. He’s taught me everything I know about this game. This [tournament and winning it] means a lot to me, but it means so much more to him as a father. He’s been there every step of the way. Through all the failures and the successes. I’m just excited he’s able to be on the bag and be with me along this journey.”

One more historical note. Austin won the 2019 Junior Boys’ Championship at Coatesville Country Club. The last Junior Champion to win an Amateur was Billy Stewart. Stewart took back-to-back Junior titles in 2000 and 2001 before a 2002 Amateur crown.

“You know I’m so blessed to be in a family that we are able to do this,” said Barbin, 23, of Elkton, Md. “My parents sacrifice a lot for me and my brothers to play in events like these events. It’s expensive and they’re the biggest supporters of all of it. It means so much to be a part of a family that pushes each other and all love the game of golf. Golf really is just our life. You know, we’re in the business This is what we live for. My family, myself we’re all super excited. It’s been fun week.”

The Barbin family owns Chesapeake Bay.

Austin Barbin has been a buzz saw all week.

He earned the No. 2 seed with a 6-under par score in qualifying. His match victories have been, in order, 6&5, 3&2, 5&4 and 3&2.

So yes, he has not seen Nos. 17 or 18 since match play started.

In his semifinal match, Barbin blitzed Haberstumpf early, taking the first three holes.

Haberstumpf, a Temple University junior, responded with victories on Nos. 4 and 5. Barbin took No. 6 (par 4, 404 yards) with a par after Haberstumpf three-putted from a distance and then knocked a 9-iron on No. 9 (par 3, 119 yards) to a foot.

Barbin made the turn 3-up.

“[Playing] 36 holes on three consecutive days is tough,” Haberstumpf, 21, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “It is great to finally play well in a big event. I learned that I can compete with the best players in this area so I am just excited that I was able to have a chance to put up my name on the leaderboard and show I can play well. I had a great week.”

Haberstumpf took No. 12 (par 3, 197 yards) with a par. Barbin answered back immediately though with a knockout blow. On No. 13 (par 4, 370 yards), he found the fairway and lifted a 60-degree lob wedge to 16 feet. In went the birdie for the win.

“I was pretty solid all week on No. 12 and hit the green every time. I think my hand slipped off the club and almost felt like it was like a shank,” said Barbin, who graduated from Liberty University earlier this year. “You know in this game you have to have a short memory. I went to the next hole and ripped a 4-iron off the tee. I trusted my numbers with my wedges (he was 106 yards out) and hit it to about 16 feet.

I had the same putt earlier in my morning match. I knew the read. I trusted it. I knew that was a pretty big part of the match to get that one to [fall]. I think I gave maybe a little fist pump.”

Barbin noted there is a photo of brother Zach with the Amateur trophy near the Chesapeake Bay pro shop. He sees it every time he’s there. It serves as motivation. In two days, and 36 holes, he may be joining him.

Semifinal 2No. 8 Aaron Fricke vs. 5. Mark Miller

Aaron Fricke’s whole competitive schedule for 2024 was non-existent until last July when he qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Union League Golf Club at Torresdale.

Even after the first round of that qualifier, he was seven shots off the pace. But a final-round 64 brought him many rewards. He garnered exemptions into all of the GAP Majors (Middle-Amateur, Philadelphia Amateur, Open Championship and Joseph H. Patterson Cup) for the 2024 season.

“The reality is, I just didn’t want to take days off work to qualify for events,” Fricke said. “Without qualifying for the U.S. Amateur at Torresdale, I wouldn’t be here.”

Fricke is one win away from his maiden triumph after defeating Mark Miller, 1-up, in the Semifinals Thursday.

“I know Mark quite well,” Fricke said. “He comes over to play at LuLu a little bit and we’ve played together a decent amount. He’s fun to play with on the weekends. It’s easy to get sloppy and just hit it around on the weekends. Mark is always grinding no matter what we’re playing for. He’s serious. He talked to me for the first few holes and at one point he told me we would still be friends after the round and we didn’t talk the rest of the way. We had a great match.”

Miller, the No. 5 seed, took out No. 4 seed and home-club hopeful Will Davenport in 22 holes in the Quarterfinals.

“I just learned that if you play good golf, the rest takes care of itself,” Miller, 38, of Chestnut Hill, Pa., said. “I made some costly mistakes at the most inopportune times. It’s deflating to come up short but I’ll just try to learn from it and improve for the next time I get this opportunity.”

Fricke, the No. 8 seed, took out clubmate, 2022 champion and GAP Grand Slam winner Michael R. Brown, Jr., 1-up, in the Quarterfinals.

“I’m pleasantly surprised to have made the Final,” Fricke, 29, of Denver, Pa., said. “I haven’t been playing that much and haven’t played competitively in quite a bit.”

Fricke’s last Philadelphia Amateur was in 2019 at Stonewall. His best finish was the Round of 16 in 2017 at Philadelphia Cricket (Wissahickon) and in 2018 at Whitemarsh Valley. 

He cruised to a 2-up lead on the front nine against Miller. 

“I felt comfortable on the front nine of the match,” Fricke, who works for PMA Financial Network, said. “It is such a grind out here. Once I got to No. 11, I started to realize what was happening and got a little nervous. There were a lot of people out watching today, which I appreciate.” 

After hitting a hosel on No. 15 (par 4, 421 yards) that led to a bogey and just a 1-up lead with four to play, Fricke tightened the proverbial vice on the next (par 3, 161 yards). After a 6-iron that didn’t carry the false front and rolled back down into a divot, Fricke extracted a pitch to eight feet. He buried a treacherous left-to-right slider to go dormie.

“I feel like out here the greens are so perfect that you can make a lot of putts because they roll so true,” Fricke said. “You can just give it a chance to go in the hole.”

After Miller rolled in a birdie on No. 17 (par 5, 488 yards), Fricke survived after both made bogey on the last (par 4, 468 yards). 

Fricke’s path to the Final involved taking out three GAP Major Champions. Brown, Huntsville Golf Club’s Logan Paczewski (2023 Patterson Cup) in the Round of 32 and Miller (2007 Philadelphia Open) have climbed the peak Fricke is a few steps away from. Only 36 holes and a red-hot Barbin stand in his way.

“I am really proud to have made it this far,” Fricke said. “I always joke at LuLu that I am just going to play my game. I layup a lot at LuLu and the guys give me a hard time. I don’t hit it very far but I have found a way to play with what I have. I am looking forward to having a chance to win this.”


8. Aaron Fricke, LuLu CC, d. 5. Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 1-up; 2. Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay GC, d. 11. Jake Haberstumpf, LedgeRock GC, 3&2.


8. Fricke d. 32. Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu CC, 1-up; 5. Miller d. 4. Will Davenport, Whitemarsh Valley CC, 22 holes; 2. Barbin d. 26. Evan Eichenlaub, Saucon Valley CC, 5&4; 11. Haberstumpf d. 3. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC, 1-up.

NOTES-New this year, the winner of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship receives an automatic bid into the U.S. Amateur Championship, an official USGA Exemption Event. The Philadelphia Amateur is one of 69 Allied Golf Association tournaments where a player receives an automatic berth. Last May, the USGA announced revisions to that event’s qualifying model. The U.S. Amateur will move from a one-stage, 36-hole qualifying format to a two-stage qualifying format with an 18-hole local qualifier and an 18-hole final qualifier.

Additionally, the BMW Philadelphia Amateur runner-up as well as the two semifinalists from that championship earn exemptions into the U.S. Amateur Final Qualifying.

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 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 organization’s 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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