Nathan Barbieri will be making his second start in a major tournament final in six days after qualifying for the final of the NSW Amateur at Terrey Hills Golf and Country Club this afternoon.
And he did it the hard way.
After a see-saw battle with Canadian Josh Whalen where the lead changed several times, Barbieri looked to be home when he nailed a 25-foot eagle putt on the 16th to sneak ahead.
BOOM: a big eagle edges Nathan Barbieri in front of Josh Whalen
The 18th hole, however, was his nemesis for the second time today, and after making a mess of his approach shot from the fairway bunker, the best Barbs could manage was a bogey to the Canadian’s two-putt par.
CLUTCH: Nathan Barbieri stares down his shot to the 19th
The 19th proved to be far less controversial this time around, and when after Whalen barely managed to keep his second shot from the water on the left, Barbieri calmly striped a long iron to about 30 feet.
A two-putt from Barbieri was all that was required to claim the match and with it a place in the final.
“I have honestly played way too many holes today,” and exhausted Barbieri grinned.
“Both rounds I had them down pretty good, but I let it slip.
“Somehow I got the job done again,” said a very relieved Barbieri.
The Monash Country Club tyro has now played an incredible 15 rounds of golf over the last ten days, with four matches going to extra holes to decide the outcome.
“It’s a joke how tired I am,” he grinned. “But I’m in another final, so who cares?”
The NSW Amateur is a title that will feel particularly special to the 21-year-old should he win. He is surrounded by his family, has a good friend in Braith Anasta on his bag as caddy, and lots of support form his NSW state teammates.
“Home events are always big ones.
“I’m proud of how I’ve gone so far, and to get the ‘W’ would be awesome,” he smiled.