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Galbreath makes history, takes fourth Jr. Boys’ Championship
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s own Robert Galbreath, Jr., made history in becoming the first junior player to hoist the Peg Burnett Trophy for a record fourth time after beating Russell Hartung of Doylestown CC, 4&2, the final match of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 94th Junior Boys’ Championship on Thursday at Huntingdon Valley CC (par 70, 6,671yards).
"I’ve worked very hard to get to this point," said Galbreath, 17. "This was, I’d say, the one goal that I had all year. If I didn’t do anything else, I’d just be happy with this win at Huntingdon Valley, my home course, in front of a lot of people I know. And to beat a great player in Russell [Hartung], it feels great."
Galbreath’s fourth title, his second of the back-to-back nature, moves him past Meredith M. Jack of Merion Cricket Club, who won three Junior titles in consecutive fashion from 1914 to 1916.
"It just feels awesome," said Galbreath of his milestone victory. "I can’t even explain it."
Before facing off against Hartung, Galbreath had his way with the competition beginning with a, 5&3, victory over Christopher DeLuca of Lookaway GC in the Round of 16 and then a, 4&3, win over Edward McCrossen, Jr., of Whitemarsh Valley CC in the quarterfinals. He then had another, 5&3, triumph, this time over Ben Feld of Blue Bell CC before beating out Hartung, 4&2, in the final.
"I played a lot better in the morning," said the 16-year-old Hartung. "I struck the ball well all day but my putting just wasn’t there in the afternoon."
Hartung hung in there through the front nine going back-and-forth with Galbreath for the lead before wining the par 3, 6th hole (185 yards) with a birdie and the par 4, 7th hole with a par, to bring the match to All Square through seven holes.
But that was where Galbreath began to take control as he made a clutch 10-footer to halve the eighth hole.
"I had to make about a 10-footer on [No.] 8 just to halve [the hole] and keep the match All Square," Galbreath said. "That really gave me confidence and settled me down."
He then took the lead for good on the ninth hole (par 4, 369 yards) after he nearly jarred his approach shot from 117 yards out and Hartung conceded the birdie to give Galbreath a 1-up lead heading to the Flynn Course for the back nine.
"I couldn’t have had a more perfect yardage into that flagstick," said Galbreath of his approach shot on No. 9. "That distance is just the perfect gap wedge for me to throw it back there with a little spin off the hill. I couldn’t have been a more perfect shot for me to have."
Galbreath’s lead would eventually grow to 3-up after Hartung conceded a 20-foot eagle putt from the front fringe on the par 5, 15th hole (565 yards), an advantage Hartung knew was tough to beat.
"I felt like once he got to 3-up, that was pretty much it for me," said Hartung. "What can I say, he played really well. He’s a good player."
Facing the 16th hole (par 4, 403 yards) for the first time in the match play portion of the championship, Galbreath, who was dormie, stuck his approach shot to within eight feet of a testy back left hole location. He was then conceded the putt after Hartung missed his birdie attempt, giving Galbreath his fourth Junior title in his final Junior Boys’ Championship.
"It was the shot of my carreer," said Galbreath of his approach shot on No. 16. "It didn’t go in but with that [hole location] being back left, I don’t think I could have feathered it in any better."
The 17-year-old high school senior-to-be at Lower Moreland High School caps off his Junior Boys’ Championship run at his home course just miles away from his second home in Philmont CC, where he won his first Junior Boys’ title.
"To win my first [Junior Boys’ Championship] at Philmont and my last at Huntingdon Valley, I can’t even explain how great that is," he said. "Having my junior career end at Huntingdon Valley, where I’ve grown up playing, I couldn’t be any happier. It feels great."
In the First Flight of Junior Boys’ Championship, Jerry Temple, Jr. of Cavaliers CC beat out Patrick Welsh of Huntingdon Valley CC, 2&1, as Mike Amole of Talamore CC defeated Julian Dorey of Tavistock CC, 7&5. Temple then beat out Amole to take the First Flight title of the Junior Boys’ Championship.
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 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.