Nathan Barbieri (Golf Australia photo)
MELBOURNE, Aus. (Jan. 19, 2019) – The home country will claim a player in Sunday’s final of the Australian Amateur, but that player didn’t get there without a fight. Nathan Barbieri pulled out a close one in his semifinal match against Germany’s Jannik De Bruyn, and will aim to bring the Aussie Men’s Amateur title home.
Barbieri, 21, was in trouble against De Bruyn at Woodlands Golf Club when his caddie, New South Wales state teammate Jordie Garner, got him going with the promise of food -- specifically, fried chicken. Barbieri was 3 down on the 14th tee, but with quick words from his caddie, was able to start his comeback. He won on the 18th hole, guaranteeing himself a spot against Ireland’s Conor Purcell in Sunday’s 36-hole title match.
Purcell’s semifinal match against German Michael Hirmer also was dramatic and went down to the wire.
Purcell, who had led for much of the match, looked like he might be in trouble when his second shot to the par-5 18th landed right of the green and Hirmer set himself up with a look at eagle. But the Irishman got up and down for birdie, while the German three-putted to lose the match.
While that was happening, Barbieri, who had played very well in the quarterfinals to take down the No. 2 seed Blake Windred (also the highest ranked Australian) earlier in the day, was about to start the closing hole. His opponent would ultimately find disaster there.
De Bruyn missed his drive left, had to hit a provisional that hardly found position A, and finally was on the green with his fifth shot. After De Bruyn missed a bogey putt, he conceded Barbieri’s eagle and shook hands politely.
“I was on the 14th tee thinking I was cooked,” Barbieri said later. “I wasn’t hitting many good shots and I’d just come off three bogeys. I just kept talking to Jordie (his caddie) and I was definitely due to make some magic happen and play some good holes coming in, which I did, so I’m very proud of myself for not giving up.”
Information from Golf Australia used in this report
ABOUT THE Australian Men's Amateur
The Australian Men's and Women's
Championships are Australia's oldest
Golf Championships, with both having
played since 1894. Long held as a match play event,
in 2021 the format changed to 72 holes
of stroke play.
View Complete Tournament Information