ORELAND, Pa. — Eighteen years in, July 16, 2018 will go down as the best of Anthony Barr’s life to date. Two Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Major titles, won simultaneously, will help him remember it for the rest of time.
“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said Barr, of Harleysville, Pa. “I’ve been working so hard over the past four years to reach this point. For it to pay off like this is really amazing. It’s been an unreal summer for me and my game.”
“Decision Day” featured good vibes from the get-go for Barr. Locked in from the minute he arrived to the course, Barr threw on his trusty Beats by Dr. Dre™ headphones and zoned in on his dual-title run. His AC/DC pre-game tunes would eventually help leave the rest of the 59-player field thunderstruck.
“I put the Beats on during my [range session] and just blocked everyone out. I don’t like talking to anyone before a round, especially in the morning. I went through my routine, went to the first tee and I was ready to go,” said Barr.
That focus and determination would pay off in the form of a winning round, which consisted of three birdies. Zero bogeys were jotted down on the card. Again, as the champion said himself, it doesn’t get much better than that.
After six straight pars, back-to-back birdies got Barr going before making Sandy Run’s turn. On No. 7 (par 4, 318 yards), he drilled a driver just short of the left bunker. A 25-yard pitch shot was placed to three feet, leaving a simple tap-in for 3. He’d get another on No. 8 (par 5, 540 yards) thanks to another tap-in after a 6-iron approach landed just short of the dance floor, followed by a chip to within inches. Barr was 2-under through nine, and as composed as can be.
“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about winning either [the Jock or Harry Hammond]. It was in the back of my mind, and I had checked a few times early on what other players were doing, but I was just trying to have fun and talk with my groupmates,” said the eventual champion.
Barr’s third and final red digit came on No. 13 (par 4, 360 yards). Barr lifted driver over the trees leaving, himself with just 40 yards in. Another perfected chip came to rest four feet from the cup, leading to a birdie conversion. Five pars to close the round followed, as did the two trophies.
“It was a clean one all around. It was mainly greens and two putts for me today. I only had to get up-and-down twice,” said Barr about his sizzling red round. “I’ve been working really hard at my game with my coach Brian Moose at RiverCrest [Golf Club & Preserve]. This stretch over the last few weeks and month have been rewarding.”
Two titles in one day is a rich reward.
The second trophy Barr collected, the Harry Hammond honor, is calculated with scores stemming from the Junior Boys’ Championship Qualifier, both rounds of the Christman Cup and finally the Jock.
Spring Ford Country Club’s Benjamin Pochet, an incoming Drexel University player, began play Monday with a three-stroke edge over Barr. Pochet, the 2017 Junior Player of the Year, carded a 3-over 75 early in the day to set the Harry Hammond mark of 3-over total.
Once Barr jarred his birdie on No. 13, the lead was solely his – one that Barr would never let out of his grasp.
“Winning the Harry Hammond really means a lot. It shows that everything I’ve gone through the past four years since I’ve moved here has been worth it,” said Barr. “It also shows that I’ve gained that consistency I’ve been looking for. I used to shoot under par, then come out and shoot 20 over the next day. I’m finally at the point I want to be at.”
Barr began the Hammond chase with stroke-play medalist honors in the #GAPJunior after firing a 4-under 67 – a personal competitive best. His 1-over 73 first round in the Christman Cup, which Pochet went on to win for the second consecutive year, was followed up with a “disappointing” 6-over 78 by Barr. It wasn’t the lowest of the four scores, but Barr’s 3-under performance in the Jock will be the one that gets remembered the most.
The journey to GAP competition for Barr has been a wild yet valuable one. Originally born in Allentown, Pa., he moved to Mexico for six years, followed by California and Indiana, before heading back to Mexico. His family returned to the Keystone State just before Barr began his freshmen year at Souderton Area High School. His next move is slated for the end of August, when he’ll join the McDaniel College Green Terror’s golf team.
“I wasn’t playing much golf before moving back to the [GAP region]. It was more soccer, baseball and lacrosse everywhere I lived, but golf was always my first love,” said Barr. “Once my dad got into it when I was around eight years old, I started to pick it up. It was only recently that I gave the other sports up for golf. Obviously, it looks like that was a good decision.”
After today’s double victory, Barr has a new goal in mind ahead of his next move: lead the Centennial Conference freshmen in scoring average.
“I’m going to walk into McDaniel as if I’ve accomplished nothing. It’s a fresh slate,” he said. “If I can achieve that [low scoring] goal, I think that will prove myself against the high competition I’ll be playing against.”
If Barr’s best summer of all time was any indication, his goal is within a realistic reach.
Junior-Junior Boys’ Division
In the Junior-Junior Boys’ Division, the title featured a breakthrough, back-bounce moment for Tavistock Country Club’s Nathan Guertler.
The 13-year-old Guertler, along with teammate Matthew Normand of Riverton Country Club, fell in a playoff during last week’s Francis X. Hussey Memorial at Rolling Green Golf Club. The tough defeat has been lingering in his mind, but that experience came in handy Monday. It motivated the champion’s game.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a few days. I knew after that loss in the playoff that I wanted to come out here and get a trophy,” said Guertler, of Merchantville, N.J. “I’m really proud of myself that I was able to do it.”
Guertler carded a 4-over 40 at Sandy Run (par 36, 2,792 yards), bettering a field of 12 Junior-Junior hopefuls for the victory.
The rising 8th grader utilized five pars and four bogeys en route to his first GAP title win. The highlight of Guertler’s day came on his starting hole, No. 10 (par 3, 113 yards). It was there where a pulled 9-iron off the tee found a left greenside bunker, making way for a highlight reel sand save. Guertler blasted his ball out to within inches, leading to a tap-in par to start. The rest of his round featured few greens in regulation, but many up-and-down conversions with Guertler’s wedge and putter.
“Around the greens, my short game really helped me out. I have been having trouble hitting irons, but everything else has been solid,” he said. “It feels great to get a win heading into the [GAP] Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship.”
NOTES: Lauren Jones of Merion Golf Club carded a 6-over 78 to win the Junior Girls’ title … Clarissa Leung of White Manor Country Club, playing in her first GAP event, won the Junior-Junior Girls’ title with a nine-hole total of 15-over 51 … Jock MacKenzie served as Sandy Run Country Club’s head professional for more than three decades. The Memorial tournament, which originated in 1985, is named in his honor. It is open to Junior golfers — both male and female — from GAP Member Clubs. Sandy Run hosts the event each year.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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.
|Junior (Ages 14-18)|
|Anthony Barr, Blue Bell Country Club||69|
|Nicholas Fioravante, LedgeRock Golf Club||72|
|Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||72|
|Mac Costin, Merion Golf Club||72|
|Joshua Ryan, GAP Junior eClub||72|
|Ryan Tall, Spring Ford Country Club||72|
|Connor Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||73|
|Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club||73|
|Finnian McGarry, Tavistock Country Club||73|
|Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country Club||73|
|Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||74|
|Keller Mulhern, Whitford Country Club||74|
|Charlie Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club||75|
|Griffin Caulfield, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||75|
|Chase Miller, Heidelberg Country Club||75|
|Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club||75|
|Drew Warner, Saucon Valley Country Club||75|
|John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club||76|
|Thomas Butler, Indian Valley Country Club||76|
|Frankie Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76|
|Joel Hark, Woodcrest Country Club||76|
|Hayden Moffat, Lu Lu Country Club||76|
|Christopher Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||76|
|Jack Hamilton, St. Davids Golf Club||77|
|Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club||77|
|Jack Murray, Stonewall||77|
|William Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||78|
|Matthew Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club||78|
|Ryan O’Neill, Blue Bell Country Club||78|
|Robbie Copit, Green Valley Country Club||79|
|Ryan Firman, North Hills Country Club||79|
|Matt Fleming, Spring Mill Country Club||79|
|Henry Fish, Chester Valley Golf Club||81|
|Matthew Law, Yardley Country Club||81|
|Joshua Brown, The Shore Club||83|
|Fritz Gessl, Chester Valley Golf Club||83|
|Luke Marvin, Commonwealth National Golf Club||83|
|James O’Malley, GAP Junior eClub||83|
|Jack Fialko, Aronimink Golf Club||84|
|Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club||85|
|Alec Stern, Philadelphia Country Club||85|
|Christopher Knox, Downingtown Country Club||87|
|Stephen Butler, Indian Valley Country Club||88|
|John Hernick, Laurel Creek Country Club||88|
|Jack Marvin, Commonwealth National Golf Club||88|
|Bryce Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||89|
|Case Hummer, Aronimink Golf Club||91|
|Giles Elliott, Aronimink Golf Club||92|
|Colin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||93|
|Scott Pfeiffer, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||93|
|P.J. Sullivan, Philadelphia Publinks GA||93|
|Liam Coll, Flourtown Country Club||94|
|Jimmy Mahon, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||94|
|Jeremy Mansueto, Radley Run Country Club||96|
|Chase Cristella, Laurel Creek Country Club||98|
|Seamus Leonard, Talamore Country Club||99|
|Liam Buckley, Rolling Green Golf Club||102|
|Finn Coll, Flourtown Country Club||104|
|Joseph Kriz, Sandy Run Country Club||125|
|Zach Bruecks, Inniscrone Golf Club||WD|
|Andrew Gallagher, Laurel Creek Country Club||WD|
|Ryan Garvey, Rolling Green Golf Club||WD|
|Darren Nolan, Talamore Country Club||WD|
|Noah Schwartz, Woodcrest Country Club||WD|
|James Gradisek, Philadelphia Country Club||NS|
|Junior-Junior (Ages 10-13)|
|Nathan Guertler, Tavistock Country Club||40|
|Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club||43|
|Lucas Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club||43|
|Declan Cottone, Riverton Country Club||49|
|Gavin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||49|
|Matt Buckley, Rolling Green Golf Club||52|
|Kidder Urban, Bellewood Country Club||52|
|Reid Walker, Riverton Country Club||52|
|Zach Moua, St. Davids Golf Club||54|
|Tyler Manwarren, North Hills Country Club||57|
|Jack O’Connor, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||60|
|Nick Shanahan, Applebrook Golf Club||63|
|Richie Biborosch, Aronimink Golf Club||WD|
|Brendan Burke, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||WD|
|Nicholas Gross, Applecross Country Club||DQ|
|Junior (Ages 14-18)|
|Lauren Jones, Merion Golf Club||78|
|Clare Gimpel, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||82|
|Molly Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||92|
|Junior-Junior (Ages 10-13)|
|Clarissa Leung, White Manor Country Club||51|
|Mollie Young, North Hills Country Club||67|
|Gabrielle Courtney, North Hills Country Club||70|
|DQ-disqualification; NS-no show; WD-withdrawal|