Blayne Barber To Represent United States At 2011 Walker Cup
Aug. 28, 2011
AUBURN - Rising Auburn junior Blayne Barber will represent the United States in the 2011 Walker Cup held at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland Sept. 10-11, the USGA announced Sunday.
Barber becomes just the second golfer in school history to compete in the bi-annual event, after former Auburn All-American Lee Williams was selected for both the 2003 and '05 events.
"I set my goal a few years ago to make this team and I just tried to work towards that," said Barber. "I'm very very excited to have this opportunity to represent my country and the people of Auburn."
Ranked as the No. 13 amateur in the world, Barber was selected as part of the 10-man American side to take on Team Great Britain and Ireland. The path was not always clear for Barber, however, even after a tie for third in 2011 U.S. Amateur stroke play sent him into the round of 64 as the fourth seed.
"I really thought my chances were done after match play at the Amateur," said Barber on his round of 64 exit. "I was a little disappointed. To get that call today, telling me I made the team, was surprising and exciting."
Barber has earned 12 amateur top-10s in the last two years and helped lead the United States to victory over Team Europe at the 2011 Palmer Cup, finishing with a 2-1-1 record.
"I'm absolutely thrilled for Blayne," said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. "He has put in a lot of hard work over the years to make it to this point. I couldn't be more thrilled for him and his family. He has been an ambassador for both Auburn and his country on the golf course. This is quite an honor."
Barber originally signed to play for Central Florida under Clinard, who later accepted the head coaching position at Auburn. Barber opted to follow Clinard to Auburn and redshirt his sophomore season.
"I know I'm exactly where God wants me to be," said Barber on his transfer to Auburn. "It took a lot of prayer to help me with the decision. Coach Clinard has been extremely instrumental in my progress and has been my right hand man the whole way. I know I wouldn't be as good a player without him.
"I'm very excited he's there for me and the friendship we developed. He will be coming to Scotland, as well."
Barber was named 2011 Division I Second Team All-American after he led the 2010-11 Auburn men's golf team with a 70.91 scoring average. The mark was second all-time at Auburn behind Buddy Gardner's 70.90 in 1976. Barber's 13 rounds in the 60s tied him for the most in a single season with former Tiger Patton Kizzire during his 2007 SEC Championship run.
"Making the Walker Cup is the greatest honor you can get, as far as bring chosen to a team, as a amateur," said Clinard. "I can only imagine the feeling Blayne is experiencing right now. Being named to this team brings a lot of respect, as well. The selection process not only includes your performance on the course, but also how you handle yourself and how you represent the game of golf."
Through years of junior and amateur golf, the Walker Cup will not be Barber's first meeting with his national teammates.
"Everyone on the team are awesome guys," said Barber. "They've all been very supportive of one another through the years. I've played with these guys before and am good friends with several. We all enjoy being together."
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