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20th Christman Cup

Barbin’s bonanza continues with Christman win

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PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — Seven starts. Seven wins. One sensational stretch of golf for Austin Barbin.

The Loch Nairn Golf Club member added a coveted Christman Cup trophy to his burgeoning collection Thursday at The 1912 Club (par 71, 6,510 yards). He carded a 4-under-par 67 to capture the weather-shortened event, part of the GAP Junior Series presented by Citadel.

Lightning in the area suspended play at 2 p.m., moments before Barbin (pictured above with Citadel Senior Financial Advisor Joseph Herron) pegged a tee to start his final round of the 36-hole event. A line of severe thunderstorms prompted GAP officials to shorten the event to 18 holes, thereby declaring Barbin the victor.

He edged Talamore Country Club’s Patrick Sheehan by a stroke. The Christman Cup hooks onto a conga line of Barbin victories in recent weeks: GAP Junior Boys’ Championship, U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier at Berkshire Country Club, Maryland State Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship (16-18), Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA, Francis X. Hussey Memorial (alongside brother Evan) and Delaware State Golf Association Junior Championship.

Furthermore, Barbin became the second player in GAP history to win the Christman Cup and Junior Boys’ Championship in the same year; Llanerch Country Club’s Billy Stewart did so in 2001.

“It’s unreal. It’s just been one of those summers,” Barbin, 18, of Elkton, Md., said. “My dad (Andy) has been helping me with my swing. I’ve just had a really good swing thought that I’ve been sticking with. It’s been carrying me, especially with my irons. It’s been a really fun ride.”

Barbin, furling his lower lip to perhaps prohibit emotions from swelling, elaborates on said thought. Start slow, in sync with the stomach. Secure synchronicity within the first half-foot or so. Turn to inner right heel. Let the swing — and success — follow.

“It’s unreal. It’s just been one of those summers.”

Austin Barbin

Barbin, arguably the Junior circuit’s longest hitter next to Sheehan, did his 1912 damage on the par 5s. On the tree-lined No. 3 (518 yards), his 8-iron from 182 yards landed on the fringe. Barbin lagged a 20-footer to 12 inches for birdie. The 495-yard No. 6 told a similar tale. Barbin again used an 8-iron, this time from 175 yards, for his second shot and reached the putting surface. His eight-footer for eagle stopped a few revolutions shy. He cleaned up the birdie putt.

Fabulous flops preceded a pair of back-nine birdies. On No. 12 (par 5, 545 yards), Barbin’s 4-iron from 245 yards drifted right of the greenside bunker. He then skied a wedge to four feet. The par 5, 478-yard 17th hole didn’t seem like a given birdie after Barbin’s pitching wedge sailed slightly over the green.

“The lie was very odd. It wasn’t on dirt, but it was on really thin grass in the rough,” Barbin said. “My goal was to play a low 130-yard shot and let it roll out. When I hit it, I knew it came off super high and right off the bottom of the clubface. I got lucky it hit the back of the green. It stopped so I had chip on the upslope. I hit a really good flop shot to five feet.”

Decisive birdie made.

Apart from the par-5 dominance, Barbin also inked red on No. 9 (par 4, 398 yards), knocking a 58-degree wedge 70 yards to 10 feet below the hole location. That birdie erased his lone bogey, which occurred on the previous hole (par 4, 435 yards). Despite hooking an “imaginative 5-iron” around obstructing trees and onto the green, Barbin logged three putts from 17 feet above the flagstick. A surprise that his seven-footer burnt the left edge, considering his putting prowess of late.

“That was probably the worst putt I hit all day. I hit it off the toe and missed it left edge,” Barbin, co-runner-up in the 2017 Christman Cup at Stonewall (North), said.

Barbin, who totaled 25 putts in Round One, propagated a parcel of midrange pars. Look to Nos. 14 (par 3, 216 yards) and 16 (par 3, 153 yards) for evidence. Barbin, oozing confidence and commitment with each selection and subsequent shot, flagged both tee balls, which plummeted short of intended target. Swift wedges set up testy conversions inside 10 feet. No jitters, just jarred pars.

None, however, more decisive than Barbin’s result on the par 4, 294-yard 13th hole. He drained a 15-footer to maintain momentum — and to ultimately edge Sheehan, who carded a 3-under-par 68. Sheehan, too, commanded the par 5s at 1912, firing three birdies and an eagle.

“I tried to go out and play as best as I could. I tried to put up a good number that would keep me in a good spot for the second round,” Sheehan, 18, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “You know that you have to score well because you know he’s going to play well.”

Sheehan, who will attend Penn State University in the fall, also finished second to Barbin in the GAP Junior Boys’ Championship. He fell, 5&4, in the Final at Coatesville Country Club.

“My finishes look good on paper, but I’m a little disappointed. I think I could’ve one won or two events that I played in this year,” Sheehan said. “Some part of my game is letting me down.”

Unfortunately, Mother Nature let down Sheehan and the rest of Barbin’s pursuers Thursday. Barbin, for his part, refuses to let up and remains sedulous as his successful summer continues.

“All the glory to God that I can do this. I finally found a sweet spot in my game, and I’ve been feeding off it,” Barbin, who will attend the University of Maryland in the fall, said.

In light of his unthinkable streak, Barbin changed his Instagram handle to “Mr. Six.” That will likely change again again. Speaking of seven, guess how long it takes to get to Toldeo, Ohio, where Barbin heads tomorrow for the U.S. Junior Amateur (July 15-20 at Inverness Club)?

“It’s an eight-hour drive. But you can just say seven,” Barbin said.

NOTES
For the first time in the event’s 20-year history, the Christman Cup was shortened to 18 holes … Barbin and Sheehan sit tied atop the Harry Hammond Award standings at 138. Neither, however, is competing in the third and final leg, the Jock MacKenzie Memorial. As a result, Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Patrick Isztwan and Rolling Green Golf Club’s Andreas Aivazoglou will stand tied for the Harry Hammond Award lead at 145 entering Monday’s event at Sandy Run Country Club. Both carded 1-under-par 70s at The 1912 Club. The Harry Hammond Award is comprised of the Junior Boys’ Championship Qualifier, the Christman Cup and the Jock MacKenzie Memorial … 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.

GAP
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 Association’s 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Results
Name, club, score
Austin Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club67
Patrick Sheehan, Talamore Country Club68
Andreas Aivazoglou, Rolling Green Golf Club70
Andrew Curran, Philadelphia Cricket Club70
Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club70
Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club70
Nikita Romanov, Loch Nairn Golf Club71
Thomas Butler, Indian Valley Country Club72
Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club72
Joseph Morganti, Llanerch Country Club72
Kevin Smith, The Springhaven Club73
Alec Stern, Philadelphia Country Club73
Connor Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club74
William Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club74
John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club74
Ryan D’Ariano, Penn Oaks Golf Club74
Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club74
Bryce Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club74
Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club74
Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club74
David Colleran, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club75
Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club75
Jack Reid, Little Mill Country Club75
Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville Country Club76
Christian Matt, Talamore Country Club76
Darren Nolan, Talamore Country Club76
Henry Pilliod, Reading Country Club76
Jacob Sokalsky, Penn Oaks Golf Club76
Chase Stephano, Aronimink Golf Club76
Michael Fioravante, Ledgerock Golf Club77
Simon Miller, Woodcrest Country Club77
Elijah Ruppert, Golden Oaks Golf Club77
Mohit Sanagavarapu, GAP Youth on Course77
Roy Anderson, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club78
Stephen Butler, Indian Valley Country Club78
Giles Elliott, Aronimink Golf Club78
Billy Pabst, Jr., Elmhurst Country Club78
Jack Ross, Medford Lakes Country Club78
Zach Bruecks, Inniscrone Golf Club79
Henry Fish, Chester Valley Golf Club79
Luke Kelly, Merion Golf Club79
Nick Schnur, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club79
Christopher Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club79
Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club80
Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club80
Scott Hughes, Talamore Country Club81
Jason Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club81
Dylan Gooneratne, The 1912 Club82
Griffin Caulfield, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club83
Kevin Deng, Radnor Valley Country Club83
Andrew Miller, Philadelphia Country Club83
Luke Ciccarelli, Frosty Valley84
Matthew Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club84
Luke Watson, Spring Ford Country Club84
Corey Haydu, Spring Mill Country Club85
Thomas Lynch, Country Club of Scranton86
Max Strout, Westwood Golf Club86
Nathan Jones, The 1912 Club97
Nicholas Hano, III, Commonwealth National Golf ClubWD
Ryan Kennedy, Applecross Country ClubWD
Michael Lynch, III, Country Club of ScrantonWD
Rory Nesbitt, Merion Golf ClubWD
Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country ClubWD
Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country ClubWD
*event shortened to 18 holes*
WD — withdrawal