The 2017-18 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Golf Teams were selected based on performance and level of competition primarily at the high school level. Junior golf success was a secondary consideration, and those who did not compete regularly for their high school were not considered. Players from states that play in the fall or spring were eligible for selection.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Alex Lockett, Mountain Brook
Name: Garrett Barber
School: The Pine School (Hobe Sound, Fla.)
When Garrett Barber walked up to the first tee for the second round of the Florida Class 1A state tournament in early November, he trailed by two strokes. Halfway through his round, it was all over.
Barber, a senior at The Pine School, attacked the El Campeon course at the Mission Inn Resort and Club at Howey-in-the-Hills. He hit a birdie right off the bat on No. 1. Then he did it again on No. 3. And No. 5. And No. 7. And No. 9. By the time he took the turn for the Back Nine, Barber was well on his way to a second-round 65, a two-day score of 10-under-par 134 and a state title.
“I just really focused on every shot,” Barber told TCPalm.com after the round. “It was awesome.”
That score and that six-stroke margin of victory are only two reasons Barber is the 2018 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Golfer of the Year. The 5-foot-11 Barber didn’t beat a field of duffers and weekend hacks. The two golfers who tied for third in the tournament were Canon Claycomb, a 2018 ALL-USA Second Team selection, and Eugene Hong, the 2017 ALL-USA Boys Golfer of the Year. Claycomb and Hong were among six golfers who finished in the top 20 who are currently ranked in the top 120 in the country by the American Junior Golf Association.
Barber, who will play golf for LSU beginning this fall, is ranked No. 6 by the AJGA and earlier this spring he held the top spot. His school year started at the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup in New Jersey in September. Barber was one of three American to go undefeated and his 4 and 3 singles victory over Australia’s Fred Lee clinched the Cup for the United States.
A week after winning the state title for the Knights, Barber won the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., topping a field loaded with the top junior players in the country.
His strong play continued in January when he won the Jones Cup Invitational, open to amateurs of all ages. The victory earned him a sponsor’s exemption into a PGA Tour event, the 2018 RSM Classic in November.
Playing with PGA Tour players might sound intimidating but Barber is used to it. His high school coach Ryan Crysler works with several professionals as the senior instructor at the Butch Harmon Floridian. He has spent time with Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka, and Barber established a nice relationship at the Junior Presidents Cup with team captain David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner and an LSU alum. Those interactions helped make Barber the golfer he is.
“Garrett exhibits the traits of the complete professional: purposeful practice, superior power, superior precision and a complete short game,” Crysler said.
Barber capped his remarkable year with a victory at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball tournament in May, teaming with ALL-USA First Team member Cole Hammer for the dominating victory.
LOOKBACK: 2016-17 ALL-USA Boys Golf Teams