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GAP newcomer Cerbara claims 14th Christman Cup at Talamore

  AMBLER, Pa. — To Stephen Cerbara, the Christman Cup sounded like a great opportunity to make his Golf Association of Philadelphia debut. The GAP Junior Players Club member knew the venue relatively well and consequently dedicated hours of wedge practice in anticipation of its demands.

  Cerbara entered the Christman Cup, presented by Global Golf Post, as a rookie and exited as a champion. He led from gate-to-wire, carding a 5 under 137 total to take the tournament’s 14th edition at Talamore Country Club (par 71, 6,364 yards).

   “This is a really big win for me,” Cerbara, 15, of Langhorne, Pa., said. “I’m really excited and proud. It means a lot. My caddie (Chris Kehrer) helped me throughout the day, reading putts and doing all the things a good caddie does. Without him, I may not even be in the tournament. I’m really grateful for him.”

  Cerbara trumped Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Cole Berman by three strokes. Talamore’s own Stewart Rickenbach posted an even par 142-total to place third.

   “I expected much going into this tournament,” Cerbara said. “When I went to Double Eagle Golf [a golf complex in Morrisville, Pa.], it has this little par 3 course, which is basically 40-60 yards in every time, and I just kept working on that. I knew if I could hit good drives today, I would have most of those shots. I just hit those really well today and made the putts.”

  Cerbara turned heads with his red immediately. With his wedges well-calibrated, Cerbara rattled off three straight birdies to gain Christman command. He drove the No. 9 (par 4, 275 yards) green and two-putted from 35 feet. Cerbara whacked wedges 90 yards and 70 yards to 10 feet for 3s on Nos. 10 (par 4, 369 yards) and 11 (par 4, 388 yards). He posted a 4-under-par 67 in the morning session — four shots clear of closest chaser Rickenbach.

  As temperatures climbed into the mid 90s, so did Cerbara’s lead over the 60-player field. His sharp 60-degree wedge produced birdies on Nos. 13 (par 5, 576 yards) and 17 (par 4, 327 yards). Cerbara knocked it 70 yards to 25 and 10 feet, respectively. He stood at a superlative 6 under thru 31 holes.

  With a bit of wiggle room, Cerabara, an incoming sophomore at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, made a pair of ultimately uncostly errors. He missed the No. 1 (par 4, 418 yards) green left with a 6-iron from 170 yards and failed to get up-and-down. Cerbara flailed a 7-iron left on the par 3, 161-yard No. 4 — some 60 feet from middle right hole location. A three-putt resulted in a bogey, but Cerbara responded with a keen 4 on No. 5 (par 5, 549 yards), smashing a 3-wood 240 yards to 15 feet and nearly canning the eagle try.

  Cerbara will next compete in the Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst Aug. 5-8. His performance Tuesday wasn’t an entire runaway, thanks to a Berman charge in the afternoon. The reigining GAP Junior Player of the Year carded a 3-under-par 68 to launch up the leaderboard.

   “I had it going this morning, too. I birdied my first two holes,” Berman, 17, of Haverford, Pa. “I knew I could do it, and for the Harry Hammond Award, I knew I had to go low.”

  The Harry Hammond Award is given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys’ Championship, the Christman Cup and the Jock MacKenzie Memorial. Berman trailed Talamore’s Jalen Griffin by a three strokes entering Tuesday. The two, playing in the same group, traded blows throughout the day. On the 36th hole (No. 18, par 5, 500 yards), Griffin, 17, of Ambler, Pa., tapped in for birdie after reaching the green in two strokes. Berman rolled in a four-footer for a 5, thus forcing a deadlock between the two atop the Harry Hammond Award Standings. The two will vie for the prize in an 18-hole playoff, with the date and site to be determined.

   “Jalen and I really kept each other going. It was fun,” Berman, an incoming senior at The Haverford School, said.

  Berman’s effort resembled last year’s at Merion Golf Club’s West Course; he spent both afternoon sessions bogey-free. Berman powered a 4-wood 235 yards into the left greenside bunker, splashed out to five feet and swept in the birdie putt on the par 5, 549-yard No. 5. He mastered Nos. 10 (par 4, 369 yards) and 11 (par 4, 388 yards) at Talamore with 3s. He hit a 50-degree wedge to six feet, a 54-degree wedge to 15 feet on the first. Berman’s wedge game proved equally as vital on the latter; Berman knocked it 90 yards to a foot in the morning, 60 yards to 30 feet in the afternoon.

  Berman implemented a mental lesson learned from his performance in yesterday’s Jock MacKenzie Memorial. He stood at 3 under — tied for the clubhouse lead — on the 18th hole, but carded a bogey to finish a shot back.

   “I definitely tried to win it too hard. There were some things that cost me,” Berman said. “It made me back off a little bit today.”

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for GAP who retired in January 2000. It is a 36-hole stroke play event.

  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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 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.

Results
Name, club Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
Stephen Cerbara, GAP Junior Players Club 67 70 137
Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club 72 68 140
Stewart Rickenbach, Talamore Country Club 71 71 142
Jalen Griffin, Talamore Country Club 74 69 143
Paul Mauer, Stonewall 72 72 144
Sam Gallen, Berkshire Country Club 72 74 146
Mariano Medico, Fox Hill Country Club 72 74 146
Thomas Fisher, North Hills Country Club 73 74 147
Jack Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 73 75 148
Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club 74 75 149
Andy Butler, Meadia Heights Golf Club 78 71 149
Matthew Cleary, Wilmington Country Club 75 75 150
Evan Thornton, Berkshire Country Club 79 72 151
Brendan Young, Chester Valley Golf Club 77 74 151
Liam McAnally, Applecross Country Club 73 78 151
Quinn Dolan, Rolling Green Golf Club 77 75 152
Kevin Kramarski, Riverton Country Club 76 77 153
Kyle Allan, Phoenixville Country Club 77 76 153
Joseph Markmann, Talamore Country Club 78 75 153
Jacob Klaus, Tavistock Country Club 81 73 154
Sawyer Wolfers, GAP Junior Players Club 79 76 155
Drew Guarino, Burlington Country Club 80 75 155
Brian Todaro, Rolling Green Golf Club 74 81 155
Davis Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club 78 77 155
R.J. Wren, Applecross Country Club 78 78 156
John Foley, Spring Ford Country Club 78 78 156
Gary McCabe, Jr., RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 76 80 156
Sean Ebert, Commonwealth National Golf Club 74 82 156
Ryan Cleary, Wilmington Country Club 75 81 156
David Pontari, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 85 73 158
Steven Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club 82 76 158
Connor Sharp, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club 80 78 158
Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 79 79 158
Trey Swanson, Penn Oaks Golf Club 81 78 159
Michael Reed-Price, Sunnybrook Golf Club 79 80 159
D.J. Quinn, Links Golf Club 81 78 159
Matthew Ade, Riverton Country Club 80 79 159
Ethan Heller, White Manor Country Club 81 79 160
Andrew Willner, Phoenixville Country Club 83 78 161
Nick Maff, GAP Junior Players Club 81 80 161
Brandon Raihl, Heidelberg Country Club 83 78 161
Daniel Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club 78 83 161
Trey Croney, Overbrook Golf Club 77 84 161
Justin Elwell, Running Deer Golf Club 81 81 162
Liam Lafferty, Links Golf Club 84 78 162
Alex Butler, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park 81 81 162
Robert Firth, Jr, Commonwealth National Golf Club 80 82 162
Chris Binet, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 82 81 163
Christopher Chizauskie, Concord Country Club 81 83 164
Jake Van Arkel, Merion Golf Club 84 83 167
JB Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club 86 81 167
Max Siegfried, Philadelphia Country Club 87 83 170
Kyle Kost, Lookaway Golf Club 87 83 170
Benjamin Kotler, Bala Golf Club 82 88 170
Michael Winter, Seaview Resort & Spa 84 86 170
Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club 86 85 171