ELVERSON, Pa. — Benjamin Pochet didn’t play a hole at Stonewall (North) Friday. He wasn’t even in the state of Pennsylvania when the Christman Cup presented by GlobalGolfPost concluded.
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Nevertheless, the Spring Ford Country Club youngster emerged victorious from the weather-delayed, 36-hole affair. Pochet, one of seven players who completed play yesterday, filed a 1-over-par 141 total to ultimately prevail. He edged Austin Barbin of the GAP Junior Players Club and Ron Robinson of Commonwealth National Golf Club by a stroke. Both Barbin and Robinson finished Round Two Friday.
Pochet was on a plane destined for Kansas and couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. He is competing in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, set for July 17-22 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.
Lightning in the area suspended Round Two at 4:40 p.m. yesterday. Thirty-five players returned to Stonewall (par 70, 6,448 yards) Friday morning to finish the event. A handful of that collective, including Barbin and Robinson, stood within arm’s length of clipping Pochet at the top of the leaderboard. None managed to do so.
Pochet, runner-up in the Christman Cup a year ago, stated his redemption intentions immediately with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 419 yards), where he knocked a gap wedge 120 yards to 12 feet. A yanked 4-iron and bladed chip tossed double bogey debris onto the stage. Pochet cleared it by firing three straight birdies. On No. 4 (par 4, 383 yards), he hit a sand wedge 105 yards to six feet on the volcanic complex. He deposited another six-footer on No. 5 (par 4, 390 yards) after a crisp 9-iron from 155 yards. On the downhill par 3, 145-yard No. 6, Pochet used the slope to advantage, stopping a pitching wedge in kick-in range. He nullified a bogey on the next hole by showcasing his length on the par 5, 530-yard No. 8. Capitalizing on Stonewall’s forgiving fairways throughout the day, Pochet powered a 3-wood 260 yards to 40 feet and two-putted. A booming hybrid and a chip to four feet netted another par 5 birdie (No. 18 (par 5, 524 yards).
“I played the front nine relatively well today. I love a lot of those shots,” Pochet, 17, of Royersford, Pa., said. “In the practice round [on Tuesday], I actually thought it was the harder of the nines.”
Amid heat as severe as 94 degrees, Pochet withstood Mother Nature — and a feisty field — to become the event’s 18-hole leader at 2 under. Robinson, 18, of Hatfield, Pa., carded a 1-under-par 69 to become his closest chaser.
Round Two, at the outset, told a different Pochet tale.
Starting on the back nine, Pochet missed four-footers for par on Nos. 10 (par 4, 350 yards) and 15 (par 4, 395 yards). A 4-iron into the water hazard on the par 3, 200-yard 13th caused a double bogey in addition to leaderboard flux.
“Being 4 over through six holes was frustrating because I thought had I hit one bad iron shot,” Pochet, a soon-to-be senior at Spring Ford High School, said. “At that point, I just wasn’t putting well. I wasn’t getting my putts to the hole. I didn’t really have a good hole on that nine. It was just rough but I made the birdie on No. 1 to settle down.”
That he did, this time lifting a lob wedge 100 yards to two feet. He turned a bogey on the par 5, 526-yard No. 3 into an afterthought by firing back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 — a stretch that favored his eye Thursday. Pochet again grabbed a 9-iron from 150 yards on the first, stopping it three feet from the hole location. An encore pitching wedge on No. 6 set up a six-footer. A three-putt from 20 feet on the next hole (par 4, 425 yards) left Pochet on the clubhouse ledge at 1 over.
Late afternoon lightning forced Golf Association of Philadelphia officials to halt play, minutes after Pochet posted his 36-hole total. With two holes remaining, Robinson, who started Round Two on the back nine, also carried a 1 over in his pocket. The reigning Harry Hammond Award winner, however, bogeyed No. 8 after playing his third shot over the green and into a tedious lie. On No. 9 (par 3, 158 yards), Robinson helplessly crumbled to his knees as his chip-in birdie attempt stopped inches from the hole.
Barbin’s best chance to catch Pochet came on No. 8. Sitting greenside right in two, he floated a chip to five feet. Barbin, 16, of Elkton, Md., hunched over and stared in disbelief as his birdie putt teased the cup, but never tumbled in.
A Christman Cup champion, 30,000 feet in the air, was crowned.
“I knew the Christman Cup would be a fun tournament to play. The GAP runs great tournaments,” Pochet said following his performance Thursday. “I knew I wanted to get back. I didn’t play [Wednesday] so I felt rested and excited to come in here relaxed. I hit the ball pretty well today. I just felt comfortable out there, which was a change from some of the rounds I had earlier this year.”
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 golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, 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.
|Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club||68-73–141|
|Austin Barbin, GAP Junior Players Club||73-69–142|
|Ron Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club||69-73–142|
|David Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club||72-71–143|
|Matthew Davis, Aronimink Golf Club||72-72–144|
|Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||75-69–144|
|Akhil Giri, Laurel Creek Country Club||71-75–146|
|Luca Jezzeny, The Bucks Club||73-74–147|
|Caleb Ryan, GAP Junior Players Club||73-74–147|
|Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club||75-72–147|
|Christopher Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||73-74–147|
|David Hurly, White Manor Country Club||77-71–148|
|Ryan Conners, Whitford Country Club||72-77–149|
|Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club||74-75–149|
|Daniel Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club||71-78–149|
|J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club||73-76–149|
|Cole Kemmerer, Waynesborough Country Club||74-75–149|
|Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||72-78–150|
|Matt Graeff, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||74-76–150|
|Wills Montgomery, Applecross Country Club||77-73–150|
|Andrew Lombardo, Indian Valley Country Club||76-74–150|
|Kyle Quagliero, Medford Lakes Country Club||75-75–150|
|Danny Dougherty, DuPont Country Club||78-73–151|
|Andrew Curran, Overbrook Golf Club||77-74–151|
|Connor Boham, Spring Ford Country Club||76-77–153|
|Dante DiStefano, Commonwealth National Golf Club||79-75–154|
|Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77-77–154|
|Noah Schwartz, Woodcrest Country Club||75-79–154|
|Matthew Kristick, Inniscrone Golf Club||78-77–155|
|Nicholas Scott, Indian Valley Country Club||74-81–155|
|Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club||75-80–155|
|Joel Hark, Woodcrest Country Club||81-75–156|
|Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||83-73–156|
|Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||78-79–157|
|Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club||77-81–158|
|Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||82-76–158|
|Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club||77-82–159|
|R.J. VanTash, Bent Creek Country Club||80-79–159|
|Jon Nolan Perry, Waynesborough Country Club||82-81–163|
|Timmy Lorenzo, Philadelphia Cricket Club||80-85–165|
|Roy Anderson, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||83-82–165|
|Jack Murray, Stonewall||83-86–169|
|Justin Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club||NS-NS–NS|
|Daniel Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club||NS-NS–NS|
|Jack Sullivan, Wildwood Golf & Country Club||75-WD–WD|
|Griffin Smith, Jericho National Golf Club||75-WD–WD|
|Mac Costin, Merion Golf Club||76-WD–WD|
|Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club||77-WD–WD|
|Jake McCloskey, Radley Run Country Club||78-WD–WD|
|Peter Garno, Merion Golf Club||78-WD–WD|
|Patrick Laushell, Yardley Country Club||78-WD–WD|
|D.J. Pinciotti, III, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78-WD–WD|
|Buddy Hansen, IV, Blue Bell Country Club||79-WD–WD|
|Jack Habeeb, Country Club of Scranton||80-WD–WD|
|Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club||80-WD–WD|
|Sam Walker, St. Davids Golf Club||80-WD–WD|
|Jack LaRosa, Philmont Country Club||80-WD–WD|
|Michael Mitnick, Linwood Country Club||80-WD–WD|
|Tyler Roland, Overbrook Golf Club||81-WD–WD|
|Bobby Beck, Lehigh Country Club||82-WD–WD|
|Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||82-WD–WD|
|Max Rubin, Little Mill Country Club||82-WD–WD|
|Cal Buonocore, Llanerch Country Club||83-WD–WD|
|Matt Marino, Waynesborough Country Club||84-WD–WD|
|Ryan McHugh, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||85-WD–WD|
|Rahil Patel, Woodcrest Country Club||85-WD–WD|
|Ryan Borrmann, Five Ponds Golf Club||86-WD–WD|
|Jake McCarthy, Cherry Valley Country Club||86-WD–WD|
|Nick Schnur, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||87-WD–WD|
|Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club||88-WD–WD|
|William Pabst, Jr., GAP Junior Players Club||89-WD–WD|
|James Gillespie, Jr., Concord Country Club||91-WD–WD|
|Matthew Pulcini, Saucon Valley Country Club||91-WD–WD|
|Michael O’Neill, III, Overbrook Golf Club||92-WD–WD|
|Griffin Kennedy, Overbrook Golf Club||105-WD–WD|
|Michael Zeng, Applecross Country Club||WD-WD–WD|
|Doug Ergood, Tavistock Country Club||WD-WD–WD|
|Finnian McGarry, Tavistock Country Club||WD-WD–WD|
|NS-no show; WD-withdrawal|