The summer of Austin Barbin continues at the BMW Philadelphia Amateur
Austin Barbin (Golf Association of Philadelphia Photo)
Austin Barbin (Golf Association of Philadelphia Photo)

Austin Barbin’s week ended like it started, in an extended embrace with father Andy and with another historic championship secured. Barbin, winner of the Maryland Amateur Sunday, added GAP’s grandest prize Saturday with a dominant, 9&7, victory over Aaron Fricke of LuLu Country Club in the 124th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.

Barbin, the first Amateur victor to represent Chesapeake Bay Golf Club, a club owned and operated by his family, never trailed in the 36-hole Final. The prodigious Barbin was clinical: long drives, sharp irons and a deft short-game.

He, however, is not the first Barbin baby boy to bask in the Amateur spotlight. Brother Zach captured the 2020 edition at Lancaster Country Club. They are the fourth set of brothers to etch their names in the J. Wood Platt Amateur Championship Trophy. The Barbins join Albert H. and William P. Smith; J. Wood and Zimmer Platt and Ray and Andy Thompson. The Thompsons were the last duo engraved on the sterling silver trophy (Ray, 1972; Andy, 1986/1998).

Austin Barbin is the first to win the GAP and Maryland amateurs in the same season.

Father Andy was on the bag for both.

“It means so much, especially with it being Father’s Day weekend,” said Austin, 23, of Elkton, Md. “My dad has been there every step of the way. Like I said before, this tournament means a ton to me but it means more to him. To have two sons win this. It’s a blessing to have him on the bag. He’s my role model. He’s my best friend. We’re a good team and it’s just so much fun having him on the bag.”

“This is the one [Austin] wanted more than anything,” said Andy, 58. “We’re from Philly. Everything about my family is Philadelphia and Montgomery County (where Whitemarsh is located) and GAP. It’s a tournament Zach was thrilled to be able to get in 2020 and Austin’s wanted to do the same thing. [All four kids, Andrew, Jr., Zach, Austin and Evan] work hard at it. They were never told to practice, they all just love the game. [On the final hole], I had to a fix divot. I told him to slow down because I wanted to walk the last fairway with him. He’s as good as it gets. I don’t have to tell you that.”

But we’ll tell you that.

Barbin’s morning round is one of the best in recent Amateur Final history.

He made five birdies and the rest pars to build an insurmountable 7-up advantage after 18.

Barbin carded the equivalent of 5-under 67 if it were stroke play.

He won No. 2 with a par and did the same on No. 4 courtesy of a silky sand save. He drained an 11-foot putt to escape with a three.

Victories on Nos. 6 and 7 followed before Barbin almost aced No. 9 (par 3, 126 yards). He hit a 56-degree wedge to two feet. Barbin’s ball landed past the flag and spun back almost going in. It was the second straight day Barbin nearly holed out for his first career ace. Thursday, in the semifinals, he knocked his tee shot to a foot.

Barbin won No. 11 with birdie and added another tally on the closing No. 18 when he converted a seven-foot par putt that had 2½ feet of break.

Barbin’s other four birdies came on the four par 5s.

“My whole philosophy this entire week was to hit it big, hit the green, make par and if you got a good look for birdie make birdie,” said Barbin. “I think hole No. 4 was actually a big turning point. Our balls were right next to each other in the [right greenside] bunker. I hit mine out to 11 feet. He hits his to nine feet. I made mine and he missed. I got 2-up where we could have gone all square if I miss. I think that was a turning point for me mentality. That hole was huge. Making that putt on No. 18 was huge. It was nice to have some cushion going into the next round.”

Barbin extended his advantage to 10-up after 24 holes before Fricke won the next two. His only two hole wins.

Barbin made a saucy up-and-down after going long of the green on No. 27 (No. 9) to halve the hole and stop any Fricke momentum. He found the hug from dad two holes later with a conceded birdie after Fricke made par.

“It was obviously not the result I was hoping for,” said Fricke, 29, of Denver, Pa. “I came in all week just trying to play my own game. I did that but he played amazing. He was just a much better player than me. I know I’m not better than [Michael R. Brown, Jr.] or Mark Miller, but I beat them. That’s why you play. He was so sharp. He made it pretty effortless. I’m not disappointed with the way that I played. I’m really proud of myself.”

Fricke defeated Brown, the 2022 Amateur Champion, in the Quarterfinals and Miller, the 2007 Open Champion, in the Semifinals.

Barbin buzzsawed his competition, regardless of location, all week.

He earned the No. 2 seed with a 6-under par score in qualifying (36 holes). His match victories, in order, 6&5, 3&2, 5&4, 3&2 and 9&7. In the Maryland Amateur, he qualified as the No. 3 seed at 3-under (18 holes). He then won his matches 6&4, 7&5, 1-up, 5&3 and 7&6.

“It was just a really special week. A long week. I didn’t have my best stuff the previous days but today I really had my “A” game,” said Barbin. “I knew if I had my “A” game I was going to be tough to beat. I’ve had different swing thoughts and swing feels every single day of this tournament. That’s not usually how I roll. I was really close to where I wanted to be with my swing. Yesterday, I went back to Chesapeake and got on some video and found a really good feel and rolled with it this morning. I was confident with it and here I am.”

On top of the GAP mountain.

View results for Philadelphia Amateur
ABOUT THE Philadelphia Amateur

Format: 36-hole individual gross stroke play qualifying on the first day. 32 players continue to match play competition with two rounds scheduled on the second and third days, and the final at 36 holes on the last day.

Eligibility: Open to all GAP Member Club golfers with handicaps of 7.0 or less. Non-exempt players must prequalify.

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