Galbreath takes Junior Championship
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–Robert Galbreath, Jr., a 13-year-old eighth grader-to-be, pulled off two stunning comebacks Thursday to win the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior Boys’ Championship at Philmont Country Club (par 70, 5,921 yards).
Galbreath, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., a member at both Huntingdon Valley CC and Philmont CC, is believed to be the youngest winner in the 90-year history of the tournament.
Three-down with five holes to play in the afternoon final, he exceeded even his morning comeback, with birdies on Nos. 14, 17 and 18 to edge 15-year-old James Kania, Jr., of Overbrook GC, 1-up.
Walking off the 18th green to gallery applause, he said, "I can’t explain it." Then he did. "I feel great. I’m really pleased," he beamed.
Even when he was 3-down, he said, "I felt I had home court advantage. I was comfortable that the last five holes were in my favor.
"But I can’t say enough about James Kania. He played so great. I was fortunate to beat him."
The closing holes were definitely in his favor all day.
He was 2-down after nine holes in his morning match with Jeff Griest of Waynesborough CC before he won Nos. 10 and 11 with pars, then finished off the match with birdies on Nos. 14 (seven feet), 15 (12 feet) and 16 (seven feet) to close out the match, 3&2.
In the afternoon match against Kania, his comeback started with a 10-footer for birdie on the 536-yard, par 5 14th hole, to cut the margin to 2-down.
After both players missed the green and bogeyed the par-3 15th, Galbreath won the 503-yard, par 5 16th when Kania three-putted from 30 feet.
At No. 17, a 176-yard par 3, Galbreath hit "my shot of the day," a Rescue 5-wood to four feet. Kania conceded the deuce after blasting long out of a right bunker and missing a 10-footer. The match was All Square.
On No. 18, a 330-yard par 4, Kania hit his drive far right onto the club’s entrance roadway, lifted without penalty, hit a wedge short into a right bunker and came out long onto the fringe of the green.
Galbreath drove into the right rough, hit a 92-yard sand wedge to 12 feet and drained the putt for a birdie to win the match.
Kania himself had mounted a late charge in the morning semifinals. He was even through eight holes in his semifinal match with medallist Brian Creghan
of Plymouth CC, before winning Nos. 9 and 10 with pars and 11 and 12 with birdies to go 4-up and close out the match on No. 15, 5&3.
In the final of the First Flight, Brent Piattelli of Downingtown CC defeated Philip Margiotta of Deerfield G&TC, 1-up.