A couple convenient clicks on his laptop are all Philip Barbaree needs to summon the magical moments of his U.S. Junior Amateur victory two summers ago.
Barbaree, a Shreveport, La., native, occasionally takes that stroll down Memory Lane. And why wouldn’t he? The sophomore-to-be at LSU pulled off one of the greatest Houdini acts in the championship’s history, rallying from a five-hole deficit with eight to play to defeat Andrew Orischak in the title match in Bluffton, S.C.
“I’ll still take a look at it when I need to pick myself up,” Barbaree said. “When you get in those same spots in competition, just knowing you’ve been there before and drawing from that is probably the biggest takeaway.”
The lessons for another champion will be determined over the next six days, as a field of 156 golfers ages 18 and under from around the world will compete in the 70th U.S. Junior at Flint Hills National Golf Club.
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Competitors will play two rounds of stroke play Monday and Tuesday on the picturesque, par-71 layout south of Andover. The top 64 will advance to single-elimination match play on Wednesday, with a 36-hole final scheduled for Saturday.
Australia’s Min Woo Lee will try to become the first golfer to successfully defend the U.S. Junior championship since Tiger Woods won three consecutive titles from 1991-93. The most recent two-time winner of the event was Jordan Spieth, who claimed titles in 2009 and 2011.
With names like Woods, Spieth, David Duval and Johnny Miller among its former champions, there is cachet in winning the U.S. Junior. The same goes for any of the U.S. Golf Association’s annual championships, winners say.
“I was actually talking to (2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion) Stewart Hagestad,” said Wake Forest senior Will Zalatoris, the 2014 U.S. Junior champion. “He’s going to grad school and he’s actually putting his mid-am title on his resume.
“He’s going to leverage that as much as he can. I just thought that was kind of funny for something non-golf related, and I thought about putting my U.S. Junior title on a resume. I was like, ‘Yeah, that would be pretty cool.’”
Lee, who defeated Texan Noah Goodwin 2 and 1 for the U.S. Junior title last July in Ooltewah, Tenn., is one of three USGA champions in this week’s field. Frankie Capan and Shuai Ming Wong teamed to win the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in May at Pinehurst, N.C.
Lee, whose older sister, Minjee, is a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, won his title three months after meeting Woods at the Junior Invitational in South Carolina.
“It was real special to see someone that I’ve idolized from such a young age,” Lee said. “Just picking up that trophy and seeing his name on it really made me happy.”
Now 19, Barbaree won the U.S. Junior two weeks after he finished second to Collin Morikawa in the Trans-Mississippi Championship at Flint Hills. It was part of a stellar summer for Barbaree, who won AJGA Player of the Year honors.
There was little doubt, however, which accomplishment meant the most to Barbaree.
“The U.S. Junior is the most prestigious junior tournament in the world,” Barbaree said. “Any time you can win it, it adds a little bit of something to your name.”
U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR
- When: Monday through Saturday
- Where: Flint Hills National Golf Club, Andover
- Admission: Free
PAST CHAMPIONS AND SITES
1948 – Dean Lind, University of Michigan GC, Ann Arbor, Mich.
1949 – Gay Brewer, Congressional CC, Washington D.C.
1950 – Mason Rudolph, Denver CC
1951 – Tommy Jacobs, University of Illinois GC, Champaign, Ill.
1952 – Don Bisplinghoff, Yale GC, New Haven, Conn.
1953 – Rex Baxter Jr., Southern Hills CC, Tulsa
1954 – Foster Bradley Jr., Los Angeles CC (North)
1955 – Billy Dunn, Purdue University GC (South), West Lafayette, Ind.
1956 – Harlan Stevenson, Taconic GC, Williamstown, Mass.
1957 – Larry Beck, Manor CC, Rockville, Md.
1958 – Gordon Baker, University of Minnesota GC, St. Paul, Minn.
1959 – Larry Lee, Stanford University (Calif.) GC
1960 – Bill Tindall, Milburn G&CC, Overland Park
1961 – Charles McDowell, Cornell University GC, Ithaca, N.Y.
1962 – James Wiechers, Lochmoor Club, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
1963 – Gregg McHatton, Florence (S.C.) CC
1964 – Johnny Miller, Eugene (Ore.) CC
1965 – James Masserio, Wilmington (Del.) CC
1966 – Gary Sanders, California CC, Whittier, Calif.
1967 – John Crooks, Twin Hills G&CC, Oklahoma City
1968 – Eddie Pearce, The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
1969 – Aly Trompas, Spokane (Wash.) CC
1970 – Gary Koch, Athens (Ga.) CC
1971 – Mike Brannan, Manor CC, Rockville, Md.
1972 – Bob Byman, Brookhaven CC, Dallas
1973 – Jack Renner, Singing Hills CC, El Cajon, Calif.
1974 – David Nevatt, Brooklawn CC, Bridgeport, Conn.
1975 – Brett Mullin, Richland CC, Nashville, Tenn.
1976 – Madden Hatcher III, Hiwan GC, Evergreen, Colo.
1977 – Willie Wood, Ohio State University GC (Scarlet), Columbus, Ohio
1978 – Donald Hunter, Wilmington (Del.) CC (South)
1979 – Jack Larkin, Moss Creek GC, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
1980 – Eric Johnson, Pine Lake CC, Orchard Lake, Mich.
1981 – Scott Erickson, Sunnyside CC, Fresno, Calif.
1982 – Rick Marik, Crooked Stick GC, Carmel, Ind.
1983 – Tim Straub, Saucon Valley CC (Old Course), Bethlehem, Pa.
1984 – Doug Martin, Wayzata (Minn.) CC
1985 – Charlie Rymer, Brookfield CC, Clarence, N.Y.
1986 – Brian Montgomery, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
1987 – Brett Quigley, Singletree GC, Edwards, Colo.
1988 – Jason Widener, Yale University GC, New Haven, Conn.
1989 – David Duval, Singing Hills G&CC, El Cajon, Calif.
1990 – Mathew Todd, Lake Merced G&CC, Daly City, Calif.
1991 – Tiger Woods, Bay Hill Club, Orlando
1992 – Tiger Woods, Wollaston GC, Milton, Mass.
1993 – Tiger Woods, Waverley CC, Portland, Ore.
1994 – Terry Noe, Echo Lake CC, Westfield, N.J.
1995 – Scott Hailes, Fargo (N.D.) CC
1996 – Shane McMenamy, Forest Highlands GC, Flagstaff, Ariz.
1997 – Jason Allred, Aronmink GC, Newtown Square, Pa.
1998 – James Oh, Conway Farms GC, Lake Forest, Ill.
1999 – Hunter Mahan, Country Club of York (Pa.)
2000 – Matthew Rosenfeld, Pumpkin Ridge GC (Ghost Creek), North Plains, Ore.
2001 – Henry Liaw, Oak Hills CC, San Antonio
2002 – Charlie Beljan, Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands), Duluth, Ga.
2003 – Brian Harman, Columbia CC, Chevy Chase, Md.
2004 – Sihwan Kim, The Olympic Club, San Francisco
2005 – Kevin Tway, Longmeadow (Mass.) CC
2006 – Philip Francis, Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) GC
2007 – Cory Whitsett, Boone Valley GC, Augusta, Mo.
2008 – Cameron Peck, Shoal Creek (Ala.)
2009 – Jordan Spieth, Trump National GC (Old and New Courses), Bedminster, N.J.
2010 – Jim Liu, Egypt Valley CC, Ada, Mich.
2011 – Jordan Spieth, Gold Mountain GC (Olympic), Bremerton, Wash.
2012 – Andy Hyeon Bo Shim, The Golf Club of New England, Stratham, N.H.
2013 – Scottie Scheffler, Martis Camp, Truckee, Calif.
2014 – Will Zalatoris, The Club at Carlton Woods (Nicklaus), The Woodlands, Texas
2015 – Philip Barbaree, Colleton River Plantation Club (Dye), Bluffton, S.C.
2016 – Min Woo Lee, The Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tenn.