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

Jun 12, 2024

124th BMW Philadelphia Amateur: Day Two Recap

Amateur Championship shaping up as old vs. new

LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa.–One day and two matches in, the Amateur bracket has separated into a pair of distinct groups. The draw’s top half is filled with four accomplished Mid-Ams looking to build legacies. The bottom sect is four young guns searching for a breakthrough performance.

Portal History | Day One recap  Day Two Notebook | Photo Gallery | Video: Golf bonds the Youngs | Video: Fricke gains Quarterfinals |

One from each will be in the Final of the 124th BMW Philadelphia Amateur at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club when play concludes tomorrow. The question is who and who.

The 36-hole Final begins at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The most notable name amongst the old guard is Michael R. Brown, Jr. The LuLu Country Club member is in search of a second Amateur title.

Wednesday Brown eliminated a pair of young bucks. He stopped 23-year-old Hayden Moffat of Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, 2&1, in a tense tussle after ending the title hopes of 20-year-old medalist and 2023 Amateur runner-up Patrick Isztwan of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 2-up.

“It had an impact on me to play someone that shot 9 under the day before,” said Brown, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., referring to Isztwan’s record-setting qualifying score. “Not only does Patrick hit the ball well but he’s a very smart player. He uses his skills to the best benefit. He’s going to be a [great player] for a lot years to come. I was right where I wanted be and feeling good and hitting the ball hard and making my putts.

“Hayden hit the ball hard and straight and putted beautifully. It was a back and forth match. I made some critical putts on the second nine when I had to have them.”

Isztwan posted a 7-under 65 at Whitemarsh Valley yesterday afternoon after a 2-under showing at North Hills Country Club (qualifying site) in the morning.

Brown, a sales rep for Makefield Putters, survived an 11-for-9 playoff last night to advance to match play. He was the last one to make the bracket, thus the No. 32 seed.

Brown trailed 1-up after 11 holes against Moffat, in a match that started on the back nine, before winning three of the next four holes and four of the final six.

He tied the match on No. 3 (par 5, 566 yards) when he lifted a pitching wedge from 109 yards to 12 feet and converted the birdie putt for the win. Brown called No. 4 (par 3, 195 yards) a pivot point. With Moffat in for par, Brown rolled in a 15-footer on top of him for the halve.

The next two holes Brown delivered.

On No. 5 (par 5, 507 yards), he lagged his 20-foot eagle into the bottom of the cup. A birdie would have won the hole with Moffat in for par. Brown hit 8-iron from 156 yards onto the putting surface. On No. 6 (par 4, 373 yards), Brown went fairway and green. Moffat caught the fairway bunker on the right side with his tee ball. His next shot from the sand travelled over the adjoining bushes and out of bounds fence. Brown moved 2-up with a conceded birdie. Two holes later, Brown again stayed steady and true. A par on No. 8 (par 4, 478 yards) and some Hayden struggles sent the foes to handshakes.

Up next, a familiar face.

Brown takes on clubmate Aaron Fricke. The same Aaron Fricke whom he partnered with for all three weeks of the BMW GAP Team Matches. Together, the duo scored 21.5 out of a potential 27 points.

“It’ll be nice to spend the day with Aaron, and [clubmate] Scott Forester will be on his bag. He’s one of my favorite people at LuLu,” said Brown. “I’m excited to be playing with him. He just wears you out. He’s not going to make too many mistakes. So I’m going to try to do the same as I did today. It’ll be a putting match probably because he’s so steady. It’s gonna be a real tight match.”

The other match on that side of the bracket pits home-club hopeful Will Davenport, 31, of Palm City, Fla., against Mark Miller, 38, of Philadelphia, Pa.

Onto the other half of the bracket.

Austin Barbin of Chesapeake Bay Golf Club, 23, of Elkton, Md., is the highest remaining seed in the tournament at No. 2. He finished 6-under in qualifying.

Barbin entered the week fresh off a victory in the Maryland State Golf Association Amateur Championship Sunday.

The momentum has carried over. He cruised in his first two matches defeating Grant Skyllas of LedgeRock Golf Club, 6&5, in the Round of 32 and Craig Hornberger of Lancaster Country Club, 3&2, in the Round of 16.

Barbin faces 18-year-old Evan Eichenlaub of Saucon Valley Country Club next. Eichenlaub recently completed his freshman year at Babson College.

Last year, Barbin came close to snagging his first GAP Major. He fell in a three-man aggregate playoff for the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Llanerch Country Club.

Ironically, it was three-putt on the par 5, 16th hole during the second and final round that has led to a better bashing Barbin.

“That three-putt was the reason why I had to reevaluate my game,” said Barbin, who graduated from Liberty University this spring. “It was a huge turning point in my career. Sometimes failures are the keys to success. I’m going to keep working on that. I had a little chip to eight feet past the hole. I literally shocked it and stabbed the next one by four feet. I had a little uphill left to righter for par and had no chance and missed it. It cost me the tournament.

“After that I really dissected all parts of my game. I was not where I wanted to be. I put 120-percent in those parts. It was really my short game and tee ball. Around the green and putting. I knew if I could clean that up I would be a different player.”

In his match with Hornberger, on No. 16 (par 3, 160 yards), all that work returned dividends.

Facing a seven-foot par swinging left-to-right putt up the hill, Barbin sealed the win.

“Previous me would be freaking out and panicking and I would not be able to make that putt,” said Barbin. “I hit that putt and it was dead center. That’s why I say I’m a different player.”

Barbin has never advanced past the Round of 32 in the Amateur, losing in the first round the four times he’s advanced into the match play bracket (2018-19, 2021-22).

Now he’s three wins away from joining brother Zach Barbin (2022) on the J. Wood Platt Amateur Trophy.

The other match in this half of the bracket is Patrick Sheehan, 23, of Talamore Country Club and Doylestown, Pa., against Jake Haberstumpf, 21, of LedgeRock Golf Club and Bethlehem, Pa.

Round of 16

32. Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu CC, d. 27. Hayden Moffat, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2&1; 8. Aaron Fricke, LuLu CC, d. 24. John Lalley, Llanerch CC, 5&4; 4. Will Davenport, Whitemarsh Valley CC, d. 13. Michael Crowley, Briarwood GC, 4&2; 5. Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 12. Connor Sheehan, Tanglwood Manor GC, 1-up; 2. Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay GC, d. 15. Craig Hornberger, Lancaster CC, d. 3&2; 26. Evan Eichenlaub, Saucon Valley CC, d. 23. Andrew Curran, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 1-up; 3. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC, d. 14. Thomas Young, Saucon Valley CC, 1-up; 11. Jake Haberstumpf, LedgeRock GC, d. 6. Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley CC, 4&2.

Round of 32

32. Brown, Jr. d. 1. Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC, 2-up; 27. Moffat d. 16. Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook, 5&4; 8. Fricke d. 25. Logan Paczewski, Huntsville GC, 3&2; 24. Lalley d. 9. Calen Sanderson, Jericho National GC, 2-up; 4. Davenport d. 29. David Mecca, Wemberly Hills GC, 5&3; 13. Crowley d. 20. William Pabst, Elmhurst CC, 4&3; 5. Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 28. Ward McHenry, Spring Ford CC, 20 holes; 12. Connor Sheehan, Tanglwood Manor GC, d. 21. Richard Riva, LuLu CC, 2&1; 2. Barbin d. 31. Grant Skyllas, LedgeRock GC, 6&5; 15. Hornberger d. 18. Jackson Debusschere, DuPont CC, 19 holes; 26. Eichenlaub d. 7. Tyler McGarry, Huntsville GC, 4&2; 23. Curran d. 10. Louis Giovacchini, Mercer Oaks GC, 1-up; 3. Sheehan d. 30. Evan Barbin, Chesapeake Bay GC, 19 holes; 14. Young d. 19. Ben Cooley, Huntingdon Valley CC, 3&2; 6. Butler d. 27. Peter Garno, Merion GC, 2-up; 11. Haberstumpf d. 22. Jon Rusk, LuLu CC, 2-up.

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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