COLE BERMAN thought a Jock MacKenzie Memorial win symbolized his Junior Division curtain call. After all, a third straight Junior Player of the Year Award, at that point, seemed preposterous. Even with his Jock victory, Berman still trailed Blaine Lafferty by 150 points. But on the eve of the Joseph H. Patterson Cup, the final Major of the 2014 tournament season, Berman read the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Press Pass blog entry that flipped his thinking. He learned that a third-place finish or better in the Patterson would crown Berman Junior POY. “I was still way behind in the standings. [Think- ing I could win the Patterson Cup] was lofty, con- sidering everything,” Berman, 18, of Rosemont, Pa., said. “I ended up winning, and that propelled me right to the top. That was the only way I could have won Junior Player of the Year. I guess it was
a little meant to be this year, which is pretty cool.”
Cool is an apt descriptor of Berman’s mindset
during the Patterson Cup. He opened the event’s
final round with 13 pars and held steady as gusty
winds and firm greens rattled the leaderboard.
“The Patterson Cup was definitely the biggest
win of my career so far. It was the highlight of my
summer for sure,” Berman said.
Thanks to his Patterson hardware, Berman
leapfrogged Lafferty to become the first player to
win the Junior Player of the Year Award in three
straight years. Robert Galbreath, Jr. also holds
three titles (2005-06, 2008). The Junior Player of
the Year Award started in 2000.
“Winning it two years in a row was cool, but
getting to win it in my final year makes it a lot
sweeter,” Berman said. “I know [Robert] Galbreath
[Jr.] won it three times, but it’s pretty cool to say
that I won it in my last three years of Junior golf.
I’m very proud of it.”
Berman’s three-peat featured an unwanted
three-peat. Berman lost in the Junior Boys’ Cham-
pionship Round of 16, this time at the hands of
eventual runner-up Cole McCook, 6& 5. In 2012,
he fell to Zachary Melnick in 19 holes, and to Nate
Menon, 5& 4, in 2013.
“The Junior Boys’ was always one I wanted to
win because that to me is the premier event for
juniors in Philadelphia,” Berman said. “I never suc-
ceeded in it. Match play is not my strong suit.”
Berman nearly snagged a match play spot in
the 114th Amateur Championship, but missed
the cut by a stroke. A schedule conflict then left
the Philadelphia Cricket Club youngster idle on
the Junior POY roadway. Berman accepted an
invitation to compete in The Players Amateur
at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, S.C. The event,
however, conflicted with the Christman Cup, a
genesis in Berman’s previous POY performances.
By forgoing the Christman, Berman exited the
Harry Hammond Award chase and left a critical
points opportunity untapped.
“That was a huge blow to my spot in the stand-
ings,” he said. “I didn’t think I was even in consid-
eration. It [winning the Junior Player of the Year]
was pretty much out of the question.”
A Jock MacKenzie victory brought a POY pos-
sibility back into the question.
“Getting over the hump there and winning in
a playoff was big,” Berman said. “That was a
cool way to get back at that tournament. The
Junior Boys’ always hurt but that one always
hurts the most.”
A month later, Berman became the third Phila-
delphia Cricket member to capture the Patterson
Cup and first since H.R. Worthington in 1910.
Howard Perrin is the other Cricket winner, in 1902.
Berman, a freshman at Georgetown University, carried his late summer surge into the collegiate scene. He earned the individual title in his
first event — the U.S. Naval Academy Invite —
and his last fall event — the Georgetown Intercollegiate.
With his competitive golf season in the books,
Berman is already setting goals for 2015. He will
compete in the Amateur Championship and return to defend his Patterson crown. Berman also
hopes to qualify for the Open Championship,
which will take place on his home course.
“It’ll be weird not being able to play in Junior
events, given that’s what I’ve been doing the past
eight years,” he said.
It’ll be weird not seeing Berman as the Junior POY,
given what’s happened the past three years. m
Blog a cog in Berman’s
drive to third straight
Junior POY __________ BY TONY REGINA __________
Player of the Year