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Stephen Cerbara of the GAP Junior Players Club pumps his fist following a birdie on No. 13.

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GAP newcomer Cerbara claims 14th Christman Cup at Talamore

  AMBLER, Pa. — To Stephen Cerbara, the Christman Cup sounded like a great opportunity to make his Golf Association of Philadelphia debut. The GAP Junior Players Club member knew the venue relatively well and consequently dedicated hours of wedge practice in anticipation of its demands.

  Cerbara entered the Christman Cup, presented by Global Golf Post, as a rookie and exited as a champion. He led from gate-to-wire, carding a 5 under 137 total to take the tournament’s 14th edition at Talamore Country Club (par 71, 6,364 yards).

   “This is a really big win for me,” Cerbara, 15, of Langhorne, Pa., said. “I’m really excited and proud. It means a lot. My caddie (Chris Kehrer) helped me throughout the day, reading putts and doing all the things a good caddie does. Without him, I may not even be in the tournament. I’m really grateful for him.”

  Cerbara trumped Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Cole Berman by three strokes. Talamore’s own Stewart Rickenbach posted an even par 142-total to place third.

   “I expected much going into this tournament,” Cerbara said. “When I went to Double Eagle Golf [a golf complex in Morrisville, Pa.], it has this little par 3 course, which is basically 40-60 yards in every time, and I just kept working on that. I knew if I could hit good drives today, I would have most of those shots. I just hit those really well today and made the putts.”

  Cerbara turned heads with his red immediately. With his wedges well-calibrated, Cerbara rattled off three straight birdies to gain Christman command. He drove the No. 9 (par 4, 275 yards) green and two-putted from 35 feet. Cerbara whacked wedges 90 yards and 70 yards to 10 feet for 3s on Nos. 10 (par 4, 369 yards) and 11 (par 4, 388 yards). He posted a 4-under-par 67 in the morning session — four shots clear of closest chaser Rickenbach.

  As temperatures climbed into the mid 90s, so did Cerbara’s lead over the 60-player field. His sharp 60-degree wedge produced birdies on Nos. 13 (par 5, 576 yards) and 17 (par 4, 327 yards). Cerbara knocked it 70 yards to 25 and 10 feet, respectively. He stood at a superlative 6 under thru 31 holes.

  With a bit of wiggle room, Cerabara, an incoming sophomore at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, made a pair of ultimately uncostly errors. He missed the No. 1 (par 4, 418 yards) green left with a 6-iron from 170 yards and failed to get up-and-down. Cerbara flailed a 7-iron left on the par 3, 161-yard No. 4 — some 60 feet from middle right hole location. A three-putt resulted in a bogey, but Cerbara responded with a keen 4 on No. 5 (par 5, 549 yards), smashing a 3-wood 240 yards to 15 feet and nearly canning the eagle try.

  Cerbara will next compete in the Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst Aug. 5-8. His performance Tuesday wasn’t an entire runaway, thanks to a Berman charge in the afternoon. The reigining GAP Junior Player of the Year carded a 3-under-par 68 to launch up the leaderboard.

   “I had it going this morning, too. I birdied my first two holes,” Berman, 17, of Haverford, Pa. “I knew I could do it, and for the Harry Hammond Award, I knew I had to go low.”

  The Harry Hammond Award is given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys' Championship, the Christman Cup and the Jock MacKenzie Memorial. Berman trailed Talamore’s Jalen Griffin by a three strokes entering Tuesday. The two, playing in the same group, traded blows throughout the day. On the 36th hole (No. 18, par 5, 500 yards), Griffin, 17, of Ambler, Pa., tapped in for birdie after reaching the green in two strokes. Berman rolled in a four-footer for a 5, thus forcing a deadlock between the two atop the Harry Hammond Award Standings. The two will vie for the prize in an 18-hole playoff, with the date and site to be determined.

   “Jalen and I really kept each other going. It was fun,” Berman, an incoming senior at The Haverford School, said.

  Berman’s effort resembled last year’s at Merion Golf Club’s West Course; he spent both afternoon sessions bogey-free. Berman powered a 4-wood 235 yards into the left greenside bunker, splashed out to five feet and swept in the birdie putt on the par 5, 549-yard No. 5. He mastered Nos. 10 (par 4, 369 yards) and 11 (par 4, 388 yards) at Talamore with 3s. He hit a 50-degree wedge to six feet, a 54-degree wedge to 15 feet on the first. Berman’s wedge game proved equally as vital on the latter; Berman knocked it 90 yards to a foot in the morning, 60 yards to 30 feet in the afternoon.

  Berman implemented a mental lesson learned from his performance in yesterday’s Jock MacKenzie Memorial. He stood at 3 under — tied for the clubhouse lead — on the 18th hole, but carded a bogey to finish a shot back.

   “I definitely tried to win it too hard. There were some things that cost me,” Berman said. “It made me back off a little bit today.”

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for GAP who retired in January 2000. It is a 36-hole stroke play event.

  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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Results

Name, club

Rd 1

Rd 2

Total

Stephen Cerbara, GAP Junior Players Club

67

70

137

Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club

72

68

140

Stewart Rickenbach, Talamore Country Club

71

71

142

Jalen Griffin, Talamore Country Club

74

69

143

Paul Mauer, Stonewall

72

72

144

Sam Gallen, Berkshire Country Club

72

74

146

Mariano Medico, Fox Hill Country Club

72

74

146

Thomas Fisher, North Hills Country Club

73

74

147

Jack Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

73

75

148

Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club

74

75

149

Andy Butler, Meadia Heights Golf Club

78

71

149

Matthew Cleary, Wilmington Country Club

75

75

150

Evan Thornton, Berkshire Country Club

79

72

151

Brendan Young, Chester Valley Golf Club

77

74

151

Liam McAnally, Applecross Country Club

73

78

151

Quinn Dolan, Rolling Green Golf Club

77

75

152

Kevin Kramarski, Riverton Country Club

76

77

153

Kyle Allan, Phoenixville Country Club

77

76

153

Joseph Markmann, Talamore Country Club

78

75

153

Jacob Klaus, Tavistock Country Club

81

73

154

Sawyer Wolfers, GAP Junior Players Club

79

76

155

Drew Guarino, Burlington Country Club

80

75

155

Brian Todaro, Rolling Green Golf Club

74

81

155

Davis Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club

78

77

155

R.J. Wren, Applecross Country Club

78

78

156

John Foley, Spring Ford Country Club

78

78

156

Gary McCabe, Jr., RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

76

80

156

Sean Ebert, Commonwealth National Golf Club

74

82

156

Ryan Cleary, Wilmington Country Club

75

81

156

David Pontari, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

85

73

158

Steven Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club

82

76

158

Connor Sharp, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club

80

78

158

Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

79

79

158

Trey Swanson, Penn Oaks Golf Club

81

78

159

Michael Reed-Price, Sunnybrook Golf Club

79

80

159

D.J. Quinn, Links Golf Club

81

78

159

Matthew Ade, Riverton Country Club

80

79

159

Ethan Heller, White Manor Country Club

81

79

160

Andrew Willner, Phoenixville Country Club

83

78

161

Nick Maff, GAP Junior Players Club

81

80

161

Brandon Raihl, Heidelberg Country Club

83

78

161

Daniel Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club

78

83

161

Trey Croney, Overbrook Golf Club

77

84

161

Justin Elwell, Running Deer Golf Club

81

81

162

Liam Lafferty, Links Golf Club

84

78

162

Alex Butler, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park

81

81

162

Robert Firth, Jr, Commonwealth National Golf Club

80

82

162

Chris Binet, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

82

81

163

Christopher Chizauskie, Concord Country Club

81

83

164

Jake Van Arkel, Merion Golf Club

84

83

167

JB Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club

86

81

167

Max Siegfried, Philadelphia Country Club

87

83

170

Kyle Kost, Lookaway Golf Club

87

83

170

Benjamin Kotler, Bala Golf Club

82

88

170

Michael Winter, Seaview Resort & Spa

84

86

170

Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club

86

85

171

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