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105th #GAPJunior

Barbin blitzes Sheehan for 105th Junior Boys’

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COATESVILLE, Pa. — Hoisting the Peg Burnett Trophy Wednesday seemed implausible for Austin Barbin. At 3 a.m., the Loch Nairn Golf Club member jolted from his slumber in unbearable agony.

“I roll over and I hear this snap. I yelled at the top of my lungs,” Barbin, 18, of Elkton, Md., said. “My shoulder was out. I couldn’t move it. I told my brother (Evan) to get my dad (Andy) because he knows how to fix a dislocated shoulder. He popped it back in. I was in a lot of pain.”

Barbin popped some Benadryl, practiced half swings in the basement at 4 a.m. and arrived at Coatesville Country Club (par 71, 6,265 yards) to complete a pursuit of passion. He defeated Talamore Country Club’s Patrick Sheehan, 5&4, in the 105th Junior Boys’ Championship Final, part of the GAP Junior Series presented by Citadel.

“This is the one I wanted. It’s a Major championship in my book,” Barbin said. “I didn’t even make match play my first two years in this tournament. It feels really good to get it done. This is very meaningful to me.”

“Just to make it to the Final in this kind of tournament is pretty impressive, I guess. It definitely didn’t end the way I wanted it to,” Sheehan, 18, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “But there’s nothing I could do about it. He went 5 under through four holes on the back nine.”

“I roll over and I hear this snap. I yelled at the top of my lungs.”

Austin Barbin

Call it the Barbin blitz.

As the Junior juggernauts approached No. 10 (par 5, 489 yards), Barbin held a slim 1-up lead over his long-hitting contemporary. Standing 245 yards from the flagstick, he determined a number (215) and club (4-iron) to bypass any chance of traveling long. It landed 25 feet below the hole location. Barbin buried the ensuing eagle putt.     

“The line looked really good to me. It was the putt that I knew I needed to roll to put the pressure on Pat,” he said.

That conversion caused Barbin to change his strategy on the par 4, 298-yard 11th hole. Barbin, a recent Red Lion Christian Academy graduate, ripped a drive that nestled slightly off the green right.

“I knew I had to be aggressive. You have to take the risk to win tournaments like these,” he said.

Sheehan, feeling a need for aggression as well, also elected to hit driver.

“I pulled it a little bit, but I thought it would still cut back. The wind kind of just held it up,” Sheehan, who will attend Penn State University in the fall, said. “I was in no man’s zone [back left of the green]. I couldn’t bump it into the hill with what was there. I thought maybe going high could be my best option. So I did, and then I had a root to my right [for my third shot].” Sheehan made 5 and conceded Barbin’s 3.

Adrenaline flowing, shoulder going, Barbin conquered Coatesville’s consecutive par 3s to outdistance the tournament’s top distancer. On No. 12 (212 yards), he hit a trusty 6-iron to 11 feet and dropped a left-to-right breaker for birdie. “Perfect number, perfect club” translated into a perfect Barbin 5-iron on the next hole (224 yards). He swept in a five-footer for birdie.

Moments later, Barbin’s shoulder, now free of golf obligations for the day, handled its next few tasks without incident. Shaking hands, hugging family members and holding a coveted piece of hardware.  

“All the glory to God, my shoulder healed miraculously,” Barbin, who will attend the University of Maryland in the fall, said. “It was a total fluke incident. If I couldn’t do a full swing, we were going to call it quits. I was lucky I was able to heal.”

The Junior Boys’ Championship is the premier Major in the GAP Junior Division. It is open to GAP Member Club golfers aged 14-18 who have not started their college education and who hold a handicap index of 14.4 or lower. Sixteen players qualify for match play; an additional 16 advance into the event’s First Flight.

The Junior Boys’ Champion is awarded the Peg Burnett Trophy, named in honor of the Association’s Executive Secretary from 1951-76. Ms. Burnett was an ardent Junior golf supporter who emphasized sportsmanship and respect for the game. “I was very strict about checking the rule book. I didn’t make the rules, but since they are there, you have to abide by them.”

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.

Citadel
Citadel is a credit union that has provided banking, investments, and insurance services to the Greater Philadelphia community for more than 80 years. At over $3 billion in assets, Citadel is one of the area’s largest locally owned, not-for-profit financial institutions, proudly serving residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Citadel has been ranked number one among all credit unions in Pennsylvania for providing value to customers by Callahan & Associates, and was named one of the best performing credit unions in the nation by SNL Financial. To explore products and services, visit www.CitadelBanking.com.

Final
2. Austin Barbin, Loch Nairn d. 1. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC, 5&4
First Flight
5. Billy Pabst, Jr., Elmhurst CC d. 7. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC, 3&1

Semifinals
1. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC d. 5. William Mirams, Shawnee CC, 4&3
2. Austin Barbin, Loch Nairn GC d. 14. Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC, 4&3
First Flight
5. Billy Pabst, Jr., Elmhurst CC d. 9. Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn GC, 2&1
7. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC d. 3. Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia CC, 3&1