NCGA Mid-Amateur: Jack Barber trades his tennis racquet for a golf championship
Jack Barber (middle) (NCGA Photo)
Jack Barber (middle) (NCGA Photo)

Back in 2018, when Jack Barber took a swing it was with a tennis racquet. At the time, Barber, now 27, was a member of the No.2 ranked Stanford men's tennis team.

Flash forward just six years later, and Barber isn't just an accomplished golfer, he's an NCGA champion.

A member at Peninsula Golf and Country Club, Barber carded a final round 2-under 69 Sunday at Poppy Hills to win the annual Mid-Amateur Championship by two strokes over Jeremy Gearhart. For Barber, it was his first victory since the 2022 Napa City Championship.

"I am absolutely thrilled," said Barber, who finished with a championship record low 36-hole score of 10-under 132, two shots lower than 2019 winner Jason Anthony's previous mark of 134. "Playing golf with the lead is a lot different than playing with a lead in tennis."

Following his days at Stanford, Barber still wanted to compete at something. So he turned in his racquets for a set of clubs.

The results have been impressive. At last year's prestigious Stocker Cup at the Preserve, one of the bigger amateur events in the nation, he placed third. He also competed in last year's U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills. He is currently ranked No. 401 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com U.S. Rankings.

The NCGA Mid-Am was only his second event of the season.

"I just want to keep improving," said Barber, who plays a limited schedule due to work obligations (he recently started a software company). 

Fueling Barber was an NCGA record 8-under 63 in the first round. The 63 is the lowest score ever posted in an NCGA event at Poppy Hills. The previous mark was 65, held by Nick Randazzo and Jonathan De Los Reyes.

According to Barber, even at 63, he "left a few shots out there." "It was just clean golf," he said.

In the final round, Gearhart, winner of last year's NCGA Public Links Championship, tried to make a charge. A front-nine 33 got him within two shots of Barber. But Barber later birdied holes No.13 and No.15 to maintain a cushion. On the par-3 15th, both Gearhart and Barber were in the greenside bunker. Gearhart got up-and-down for par, while Barber holed out his bunker shot.

"I wanted to make him sweat, but it was hard," said Gearhart, who never was able to get closer than two shots.

"I think at Poppy Hills, you have to keep the ball in the fairway. Jeremy played amazingly. I was just trying to keep up with him," Barber said.

Gearhart finished at 135. Anthony and Matt Heitel finished T-3 at 139 after final rounds of 68 and 72.

Results: NCGA Mid-Amateur
1CAJack BarberLa Jolla, CA15063-69=132
2CAJeremy GearhartAtascadero, CA10067-68=135
T3CAJason AnthonyFairfield, CA5071-68=139
T3CAMatthew HeitelRedwood City, CA5067-72=139
T5CAKenneth McCreadyCameron Park, CA5071-69=140

View full results for NCGA Mid-Amateur


The NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship began in 1982 as the Master Division Championship, a competitive opportunity for players aged 40-54 who were not yet eligible for senior tournaments. In 2016, the event was re-named the Mid-Amateur Championship, opening up to all players aged 25 and over, with no upper age restriction. The champagne bucket trophy was donated by two-time California State Amateur champion Ernie Pieper.

36 hole stroke play championship with pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players. Max handicap 5.4.

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