Archmere’s Phoebe Brinker collected five birdies, including a critical effort at 16 to rally past first-round leader Austin Barbin to win the 2018 DIAA Golf Championship by one shot at Odessa National Golf Club.
Red Lion’s Barbin opened the day with a three-shot lead on Brinker, and built on that advantage with a birdie on the par-4 first hole, but four bogeys on the front 9 sent him back towards the pack.
Brinker got off to a steadier start, turning the table on Barbin with two birdies and a bogey on the front nine, meaning they were knotted at 2-under with 9 holes to go.
Brinker, who won the 2016 title, took the lead for the first time with a birdie on the par-4 10th, her third of the day.
The lead stretched to two at 13, as she again went under-par, and Barbin’s bogey at 14 sent the lead up to 3.
The par-5 16th might have been the best scoring hole of the day, and Barbin had a look from the fringe at an eagle he just missed to the left, giving him a tap-in birdie.
Brinker faced about a 15-footer for her birdie, and she slammed it home to maintain her lead.
Barbin made one last attack at 17, chipping in a birdie from just off the fringe, and combined with Brinker’s bogey on the same hole, the margin was one, although neither knew it at the time.
Barbin had a look at a birdie that would have forced a playoff at 18, but missed it, and the matching pars gave the title to Brinker.
Brinker’s victory capped off another strong tournament for the strong girls golf community in Delaware, as five of the top 6 finishers were females, following last year when it was 5 of the top 7.
Padua’s Haley Quickel settled for 3rd after two birdies were derailed by a double-bogey at the 14th.
Tower Hill’s Rylie Heflin and Jennifer Clearly rounded out the top 5, while defending-champion Esther Park finished 6th.
Appoquinimink’s Matt Pulgini, Concord’s Alex Mulrooney, Milford’s Kyle Strassle, and Appoquinimink’s Frankie Markieweiza rounded out the top 10.
Heflin and Cleary topped another solid tournament for Tower Hill, who when combined with Danny Dougherty’s 18th place finish, won the team title by 21 strokes over Appoquinimink, with Archmere finishing one shot further back in 3rd.