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Stone Harbor Golf Club’s Peter Barron, III

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Stone Harbor’s Barron wins 55th Tournament of Champions

  BLUE BELL, Pa. — A trio of recent runner-up finishes left Peter Barron, III wondering if he’d ever find the winner’s circle in 2012. He placed second in the Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club Invitational, the 15th Metedeconk Invitational and the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Tournament of Champions. Barron shattered those silver chains Friday. The Stone Harbor Golf Club member carded a 2-under-par 69 to win the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 55th Tournament of Champions at an enjoyable Meadowlands Country Club (par 71, 6,367 yards).

   “I don’t mind winning one,” a delighted Barron, 36, of Mays Landing, N.J., said. “It feels good. I put a decent amount of work in over the last few weeks. Hopefully, next year will be a good year. I’ve always been a decent player, and hopefully, I can break through to the top tier.”

  Seeing Meadowlands for the first time, Barron attacked its challenging landscape with a set of clubs that oozed consistency and pinpoint accuracy. He birdied three of his first four holes to establish a red figure rhythm. Barron hit an 8-iron 167 yards to 45 feet on No. 2 (par 4, 408 yards) and sunk an uphill, left-to-right slider. On the tenuous par 3, 165-yard No. 3, he knocked an 8-iron onto the back fringe and converted a 20-footer for birdie. Barron powered a hybrid 226 yards to eight feet on No.4 (par 5, 487 yards) and two-putted for a 4.

   “I played pretty conservatively and putted well on the front,” Barron said. “I hit the ball solid all day. If I missed a fairway, it wasn’t unplayable. I always had a shot at the green.”

  A pair of missteps hampered Barron’s outward gusto. He caught the right greenside bunker on No. 5 (par 4, 369 yards) with a gap wedge and failed to execute a sand save. Barron also bogeyed the dogleg left, par 4, 390-yard No. 9. A 122-yard wedge approach traveled long and left, leaving Barron with a dicey putt from 40 feet. He admittedly misread the birdie try, leaving it eight feet from the jar. Barron recovered nicely with a birdie on No. 10 (par 4, 375 yards) after drilling a 9-iron 151 yards to 10 feet. He assembled a string of eight pars to maintain a 2 under on the scorecard.

  Barron, the 2011 Winter Series Player of the Year (Amateur Gross), felt that his game turned a corner late in the tournament season. He attributes the progressing transformation to Mike Dynda, a teaching professional out of Blue Bell Country Club and the men’s golf coach at Drexel University. Barron started taking lessons from Dynda three weeks ago.

   “I knew that if I wanted to get better, I needed a teacher,” Barron said. “He gave me a ton of stuff to work on, and it’s not awful-feeling stuff. I started working with ‘aim point,’ which is a method to green reading. You figure out the angles and slopes. There’s a chart that tells you how far left or right to hit it. That’s given me a lot of confidence because I would get behind the ball, find my line, get over the ball and say that’s not right. I would always second-guess myself. Now I have something concrete to go on.”

  Barron edged Loch Nairn Golf Club’s Robert Bechtold by a stroke. Bechtold, the 2002 Tournament of Champions victor, posted a 30 (5 under) coming in.

   “It was nice to play better on the back nine. It felt good,” Bechtold, 41, of Avondale, Pa., said. “The course is in great shape. The greens were great. I really enjoy this event. It’s always a lot of fun.”

Senior Division

  Earlier this week, Saucon Valley Country Club’s Robin McCool, at age 61, became the oldest player to capture the Lehigh Valley Amateur. The victory’s ripple effects carried McCool to the top of the Tournament of Champions’ Senior Division (par 71, 5,920 yards). He carded a 1-over-par 72 to claim his third crown. McCool won consecutive titles in 2006-07.

Robin McCool

   “I’m still on a bit of a high from the Lehigh Valley Amateur,” the Bethlehem, Pa. resident said. “Quite frankly, I took some things from that to the golf course today.”

  McCool registered 14 greens in regulation on the day. He stopped a 4-iron at two feet on No. 6 (par 3, 180 yards) for birdie. On the par 4, 300-yard No. 8, he knocked a gap wedge 95 yards to eight feet for a 3. McCool missed a trio of two-footers to log bogeys on Nos. 2 (par 4, 386 yards), 5 (par 4, 358 yards) and 12 (par 3, 150 yards). The par 4, 389-yard 11th hole marked his only missed fairway, which resulted in a bogey. McCool fired back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 (par 4, 317 yards) and 14 (par 4, 356 yards). He drained a 10-footer on the first following a gap wedge approach, and a spiraling 12-footer on the latter following an 8-iron from 143 yards. An aggressive drive on No. 15 (par 4, 405 yards) put McCool one above the blue.

  Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions was initiated in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Association then accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire because of an illness. The Golf Association of Philadelphia added a Senior Division in 1992.

  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.

Amateur Division

Name

Club

Scores

Peter Barron, III

Stone Harbor Golf Club

69

Robert Bechtold

Loch Nairn Golf Club

70

Troy Vannucci

Burlington Country Club

73

Jesse Bingaman

Woodstone Country Club

75

Brian Corbett

Huntsville Golf Club

76

Michael Walker

Loch Nairn Golf Club

76

Robert Bass

Sandy Run Country Club

76

Robert Gill

Fox Hill Country Club

76

Andrew Ferrario

DuPont Country Club

78

Lance Oberparleiter

Wedgwood Country Club

78

Daniel Kluger

Cedarbrook Country Club

79

Neil Gordon

Five Ponds Golf Club

79

Steven Walczak

Wilmington Country Club

79

Chris Ewing

Doylestown Country Club

80

John Simone

Philmont Country Club

80

Rich Thon

The Springhaven Club

80

Sam Pancoast

Radley Run Country Club

80

Brian Kenny

Greate Bay Country Club

81

Brian Skrip

Meadowlands Country Club

81

Scott Storck

Philadelphia Cricket Club

81

Edward Enoch

Old York Road Country Club

82

P. Chet Walsh

Philadelphia Country Club

82

Kevin Cahill

Waynesborough Country Club

83

Michael Fireman

Talamore Country Club

83

George Collins

Sand Barrens Golf Club

84

John Cyb

Makefield Highlands Golf Club

85

Tom Grady

West Chester Golf & Country Club

85

Daniel Mahoney

Lu Lu Country Club

87

Jim Schulz, Jr.

Mercer Oaks Golf Course

87

Brian Veltkamp

Indian Valley Country Club

90

Steve Natalie

Golf Course at Glen Mills

91

John Foley

Spring Ford Country Club

94

Anthony Piazza

The ACE Club

96

Gary McCabe

RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

WD

John Simkins

Squires Golf Club

NS

Senior Division

Name

Club

Scores

Robin McCool

Saucon Valley Country Club

72

Ed Zebrowski

Sea Oaks Golf Club

74

Michael Rose

Talamore Country Club

74

Mark Ellinger

Whitford Country Club

77

Tom DiCinti

Little Mill Country Club

77

Ed Gregorczyk

Glenmaura National Golf Club

78

Christopher Clauson

Sandy Run Country Club

79

Edward Enoch

Old York Road Country Club

79

Frank Polizzi

Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

79

Franny McCabe

The Springhaven Club

79

James Prendergast

Philadelphia Publinks GA

79

Jim Krass

Radley Run Country Club

79

Mark Quigley

Blue Bell Country Club

79

Thomas Coffey, III

Chester Valley Golf Club

79

Drew Panebianco

Five Ponds Golf Club

80

Neil McDermott

Llanerch Country Club

80

Philip Heckler

Wildwood Golf & Country Club

82

Aaron Shatzman

Meadowlands Country Club

83

Alan Brody

Radnor Valley Country Club

83

Bill Moyer

Downingtown Country Club

83

Buzz Rothweiler

Honeybrook Golf Club

83

Dave O'Brien

Cedarbrook Country Club

83

Rick Bunn

McCall Golf & Country Club

83

Robin Roberts

Limekiln Golf Club

84

Terrence Sawyer

Mercer Oaks Golf Course

84

Dennis Fellona

Merchantville Country Club

85

Doug Cowan

Deerwood Country Club

87

William Erskine

Skippack Golf Club

87

Peter Stanley

Sunnybrook Golf Club

88

Thomas Kanyok

Makefield Highlands Golf Club

98

John Scott

West Chester Golf & Country Club

104

Bennett Meyer

Philmont Country Club

WD

Harold Schweitzer

Applecross Country Club

WD

WD - withdrawal; NS - no show

 

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