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Blue Bell’s Barr brilliant in Jock MacKenzie victory, wins season-long Harry Hammond race

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.

Scoring portal | History | Junior POY standings | Harry Hammond Award standings |
  Barr, an incoming McDaniel College freshman, filed a 3-under-round of 69 to win the 34th Jock MacKenzie Memorial at Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,437 yards). His eye-opening performance Monday in the Jock also propelled him to the season-long Harry Hammond Award, which he claimed with an even-par total of 287.

“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.

Boys
Junior (Ages 14-18)
Name, club Score
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)
Name, club Score
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
Girls
Junior (Ages 14-18)
Name, club Score
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)
Name, club Score
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