Chuck Barron tried to stay out of his son’s way this week at the Georgia Amateur.
All changed on the 18th green at Athens Country Club.
When Brett Barron tapped in for a par on the final hole, he shook hands with playing partners Jack Hall and Preston Topper and made a beeline toward his dad. The elder Barron had been nervously taking photos and was still clicking away, filling the memory card of his camera.
Brett, the youngest of six children, walked toward him and playfully began to smile and repeatedly poke his dad with the end of his putter. That was followed by a father-son embrace that certainly seemed worthy of the occasion.
“It was nice to see him show up and be here for the last hole,” Brett Barron said. “He was a little more nervous than when I showed up today.”
The junior from Georgia Southern began the final round of the Georgia Amateur Championship with a three-shot lead and produced a drama-free final-round 68 to finish at 9-under par 271. Barron consistently hit fairways and greens and did not have a three-putt on Sunday.
The four-shot win was the widest margin of victory at the tournament since current PGA Tour star Russell Henley won by eight when he successfully defended his title in 2009.
Barron got off to a good start with a pair of solid pars and made a birdie on the third hole. By the time he made the turn, Barron’s advantage was up to five shots. From that point it was nothing fancy to be done and a birdie at the 14th – where he drove the green – virtually sealed the deal.
“I missed the fairway the first three days on the first hole,” Barron said. “Today I hit it right down the middle, hit 8-iron on the green and two-putted. After that I was pretty relaxed.”
He only had two close calls, but was able to get up and down for par both times, once at the 11th when he caught a weird lie off the tee, and again on the 15th. No competitor got closer than four shots after Barron made the turn.
Barron earns a 10-year exemption into the Georgia Amateur and pocketed an exemption into this year’s Georgia Open, a tournament for which he had planned to qualify on Monday.
Alex Ross of Atlanta, a sophomore at Davidson College, was alone in second place at 5-under par 275 after closing with a 68. He birdied four of the last six holes to clip Grant Sutliff of Cumming, a sophomore at Kennesaw State, by one. Sutliff closed with a 68.
Tied for fourth at 3-under were Jack Hall of Savannah, who shot 71 and came up short in his bid to become the oldest Georgia Amateur champion, and David Denham of Athens, who shot 70. Denham, a member at Athens County Club, was a member of the University of Georgia’s NCAA championship golf team in 2005 and won the Georgia Amateur in 2004.