Nothing was going to stop Todd Barker from winning his second straight Salt Lake City Amateur golf title Sunday at Bonneville Golf Course.
Not another fierce south wind, not playing partner Blair Philip, who started the day just one shot behind, or not even his own mental lapse on the back nine when he "fell asleep" for a couple of holes.Barker added a 3-under-par 69 to his 68 of the previous day and cruised to a 5-shot victory over 1983 champion Rich Rawdin. The 5-shot victory margin is the largest at the City Am in at least 10 years.
For the 34-year-old greenskeeper at Fore Lakes Golf Course, it was his third City Am triumph in the past five years (e also won in 1984). And this year's winning score of 137 is two shots lower than last year's winning score, which happened to be two shots better than the 1984 winning score.
Barker just seems to get better with age.
"They've all been nice, but it was important for me to win two in a row," said Barker.
He nearly ran away with the tournament on his first nine Sunday, which he played in 3-under-par. Playing the back nine first, Barker made eagle at No. 14 when he sank a 45-foot putt from the top tier of the green to the lower tier. He followed that with a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 15.
Philip, meanwhile, pretty much shot himself out of contention with a triple-bogey at No. 13, where he hit his drive out of bounds.
By the time they made the turn, Barker led Philip by 8 shots and Rawdin, who closed with a 70 earlier in the day, by 5. Barker admitted later that he was feeling pretty relaxed about his big lead.
He birdied No. 1 but bogeyed No. 2 and then found disaster at the par-5 3rd hole. After hitting his drive under a small pine tree, Barker chipped out to within 125 yards of the green. After a long wait, he was in the middle of hitting an easy 9-iron shot when the wind suddenly stopped. He slowed his swing and "chunked" one about 90 yards, ending up well short of the green. Then, after chipping to within 6 feet, he three-putted for a double-bogey 7.
"I fell asleep there, but I woke up abruptly," said Barker.
Meanwhile, Philip, who moments earlier had been joking with the media about taking away all the suspense with his poor play, made an eagle-3 to cut Barker's lead from 8 to 4.
Going to the 4th tee, Barker knew he was still 3 shots ahead of Rawdin, and he said to himself, "Don't start counting backwards." He also told himself to "relax and grind out a couple of pars." Instead, he did better than that, sinking a 20-foot putt for birdie at No. 4 and then parring 5 and 6. He added an insurance birdie at No. 7 and then parred out. At both 6 and 8 he made par putts of at least 5 feet.
"He's the best putter I've ever seen," said Philip afterward. "He's really good. He deserves it."
Philip, who carded a 75, finished fourth at 144, a shot behind Kurt Bosen, the 1985 City Am champ.
Now that he's captured three City Am titles along with nearly every other local amateur tournament worth mentioning, Barker has his sights set on the biggest amateur event of them all - the State Amateur - which he has never won.
"My goal is to win the State Am" said Barker. "In the past I've always kind of ho-hummed it, but I'd really like to win it this year."
The State Amateur will be played July 6-10 at Oakridge Country Club.
Barker was also the net winner despite his 0 handicap, but since he can't win both net and gross, net honors went to Bryan Spackman and Cliff Snyder at 140.
Ken Pilon captured A Flight with a net 136, Dave Cannon was the B Flight winner at 137, while Dennis Miller and Jeff Campbell shared C Flight honors at 131.