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July 14, 2017

Benjamin Pochet eyes his drive on No. 8 (par 5, 530 yards)
during Round One Thursday.

Flight risk: Spring Ford’s Pochet hangs on, wins Christman Cup

  ELVERSON, Pa. — Benjamin Pochet didn’t play a hole at Stonewall (North) Friday. He wasn’t even in the state of Pennsylvania when the Christman Cup presented by GlobalGolfPost concluded.

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  Nevertheless, the Spring Ford Country Club youngster emerged victorious from the weather-delayed, 36-hole affair. Pochet, one of seven players who completed play yesterday, filed a 1-over-par 141 total to ultimately prevail. He edged Austin Barbin of the GAP Junior Players Club and Ron Robinson of Commonwealth National Golf Club by a stroke. Both Barbin and Robinson finished Round Two Friday.

  Pochet was on a plane destined for Kansas and couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. He is competing in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, set for July 17-22 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.

  Lightning in the area suspended Round Two at 4:40 p.m. yesterday. Thirty-five players returned to Stonewall (par 70, 6,448 yards) Friday morning to finish the event. A handful of that collective, including Barbin and Robinson, stood within arm’s length of clipping Pochet at the top of the leaderboard. None managed to do so.

  Pochet, runner-up in the Christman Cup a year ago, stated his redemption intentions immediately with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 419 yards), where he knocked a gap wedge 120 yards to 12 feet. A yanked 4-iron and bladed chip tossed double bogey debris onto the stage. Pochet cleared it by firing three straight birdies. On No. 4 (par 4, 383 yards), he hit a sand wedge 105 yards to six feet on the volcanic complex. He deposited another six-footer on No. 5 (par 4, 390 yards) after a crisp 9-iron from 155 yards. On the downhill par 3, 145-yard No. 6, Pochet used the slope to advantage, stopping a pitching wedge in kick-in range. He nullified a bogey on the next hole by showcasing his length on the par 5, 530-yard No. 8. Capitalizing on Stonewall’s forgiving fairways throughout the day, Pochet powered a 3-wood 260 yards to 40 feet and two-putted. A booming hybrid and a chip to four feet netted another par 5 birdie (No. 18 (par 5, 524 yards).

  “I played the front nine relatively well today. I love a lot of those shots,” Pochet, 17, of Royersford, Pa., said. “In the practice round [on Tuesday], I actually thought it was the harder of the nines."

  Amid heat as severe as 94 degrees, Pochet withstood Mother Nature — and a feisty field — to become the event’s 18-hole leader at 2 under. Robinson, 18, of Hatfield, Pa., carded a 1-under-par 69 to become his closest chaser.

  Round Two, at the outset, told a different Pochet tale.

  Starting on the back nine, Pochet missed four-footers for par on Nos. 10 (par 4, 350 yards) and 15 (par 4, 395 yards). A 4-iron into the water hazard on the par 3, 200-yard 13th caused a double bogey in addition to leaderboard flux.

  “Being 4 over through six holes was frustrating because I thought had I hit one bad iron shot,” Pochet, a soon-to-be senior at Spring Ford High School, said. “At that point, I just wasn’t putting well. I wasn’t getting my putts to the hole. I didn’t really have a good hole on that nine. It was just rough but I made the birdie on No. 1 to settle down.”

  That he did, this time lifting a lob wedge 100 yards to two feet. He turned a bogey on the par 5, 526-yard No. 3 into an afterthought by firing back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 — a stretch that favored his eye Thursday. Pochet again grabbed a 9-iron from 150 yards on the first, stopping it three feet from the hole location. An encore pitching wedge on No. 6 set up a six-footer. A three-putt from 20 feet on the next hole (par 4, 425 yards) left Pochet on the clubhouse ledge at 1 over.

  Late afternoon lightning forced Golf Association of Philadelphia officials to halt play, minutes after Pochet posted his 36-hole total. With two holes remaining, Robinson, who started Round Two on the back nine, also carried a 1 over in his pocket. The reigning Harry Hammond Award winner, however, bogeyed No. 8 after playing his third shot over the green and into a tedious lie. On No. 9 (par 3, 158 yards), Robinson helplessly crumbled to his knees as his chip-in birdie attempt stopped inches from the hole.

  Barbin’s best chance to catch Pochet came on No. 8. Sitting greenside right in two, he floated a chip to five feet. Barbin, 16, of Elkton, Md., hunched over and stared in disbelief as his birdie putt teased the cup, but never tumbled in.

  A Christman Cup champion, 30,000 feet in the air, was crowned.

  “I knew the Christman Cup would be a fun tournament to play. The GAP runs great tournaments,” Pochet said following his performance Thursday. “I knew I wanted to get back. I didn’t play [Wednesday] so I felt rested and excited to come in here relaxed. I hit the ball pretty well today. I just felt comfortable out there, which was a change from some of the rounds I had earlier this year.”

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for the Golf Association of Philadelphia who retired in January 2000.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.

Name, club

R1-R2–Total

Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club

68-73–141

Austin Barbin, GAP Junior Players Club

73-69–142

Ron Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club

69-73–142

David Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club

72-71–143

Matthew Davis, Aronimink Golf Club

72-72–144

Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

75-69–144

Akhil Giri, Laurel Creek Country Club

71-75–146

Luca Jezzeny, The Bucks Club

73-74–147

Caleb Ryan, GAP Junior Players Club

73-74–147

Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club

75-72–147

Christopher Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

73-74–147

David Hurly, White Manor Country Club

77-71–148

Ryan ConnersWhitford Country Club

72-77–149

Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club

74-75–149

Daniel Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club

71-78–149

J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club

73-76–149

Cole Kemmerer, Waynesborough Country Club

74-75–149

Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

72-78–150

Matt Graeff, Manufacturers' Golf & Country Club

74-76–150

Wills Montgomery, Applecross Country Club

77-73–150

Andrew Lombardo, Indian Valley Country Club

76-74–150

Kyle Quagliero, Medford Lakes Country Club

75-75–150

Danny Dougherty, DuPont Country Club

78-73–151

Andrew Curran, Overbrook Golf Club

77-74–151

Connor Boham, Spring Ford Country Club

76-77–153

Dante DiStefano, Commonwealth National Golf Club

79-75–154

Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

77-77–154

Noah Schwartz, Woodcrest Country Club

75-79–154

Matthew KristickInniscrone Golf Club

78-77–155

Nicholas Scott, Indian Valley Country Club

74-81–155

Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club

75-80–155

Joel Hark, Woodcrest Country Club

81-75–156

Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

83-73–156

Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers' Golf & Country Club

78-79–157

Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club

77-81–158

Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

82-76–158

Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club

77-82–159

R.J. VanTash, Bent Creek Country Club

80-79–159

Jon Nolan Perry, Waynesborough Country Club

82-81–163

Timmy Lorenzo, Philadelphia Cricket Club

80-85–165

Roy Anderson, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

83-82–165

Jack Murray, Stonewall

83-86–169

Justin Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club

NS-NS–NS

Daniel Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club

NS-NS–NS

Jack Sullivan, Wildwood Golf & Country Club

75-WD–WD

Griffin Smith, Jericho National Golf Club

75-WD–WD

Mac Costin, Merion Golf Club

76-WD–WD

Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club

77-WD–WD

Jake McCloskey, Radley Run Country Club

78-WD–WD

Peter Garno, Merion Golf Club

78-WD–WD

Patrick Laushell, Yardley Country Club

78-WD–WD

D.J. Pinciotti, III, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

78-WD–WD

Buddy Hansen, IV, Blue Bell Country Club

79-WD–WD

Jack Habeeb, Country Club of Scranton

80-WD–WD

Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club

80-WD–WD

Sam Walker, St. Davids Golf Club

80-WD–WD

Jack LaRosa, Philmont Country Club

80-WD–WD

Michael Mitnick, Linwood Country Club

80-WD–WD

Tyler Roland, Overbrook Golf Club

81-WD–WD

Bobby Beck, Lehigh Country Club

82-WD–WD

Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

82-WD–WD

Max Rubin, Little Mill Country Club

82-WD–WD

Cal BuonocoreLlanerch Country Club

83-WD–WD

Matt Marino, Waynesborough Country Club

84-WD–WD

Ryan McHugh, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

85-WD–WD

Rahil Patel, Woodcrest Country Club

85-WD–WD

Ryan Borrmann, Five Ponds Golf Club

86-WD–WD

Jake McCarthy, Cherry Valley Country Club

86-WD–WD

Nick Schnur, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

87-WD–WD

Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club

88-WD–WD

William Pabst, Jr., GAP Junior Players Club

89-WD–WD

James Gillespie, Jr., Concord Country Club

91-WD–WD

Matthew PulciniSaucon Valley Country Club

91-WD–WD

Michael O'Neill, III, Overbrook Golf Club

92-WD–WD

Griffin Kennedy, Overbrook Golf Club

105-WD–WD

Michael Zeng, Applecross Country Club

WD-WD–WD

Doug ErgoodTavistock Country Club

WD-WD–WD

Finnian McGarry, Tavistock Country Club

WD-WD–WD

 

NS-no show; WD-withdrawal

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