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Union Leader Athlete of the Month: Chelso Barrett

New Hampshire Union Leaderhttp://uledit.sx.atl.publicus.com/apps/pbcsedit.dll/red#

August 15. 2011 10:27PM

Chelso Barrett watches his drive on the 8th hole of the final round in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship July 23 at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. (COURTESY KITSAP SUN)

Any time a golfer's name - an amateur, no less- is mentioned in the same sentence as Tiger Woods, something has to be going right.

Even if the sentence is, 'If Jordan Spieth can defeat Chelso Barrett in the U.S. Junior Amateur final, he'll join Tiger Woods as the only multiple winner in history.'

As the story goes, Spieth did manage to overcome the Keene native and join Woods in the record books, but Barrett's finish at the tournament is still an achievement worth recognizing, earning him July New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month honors.

The 16-year-old Granite Stater lost to Spieth at Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Wash., on July 23, falling to the Dallas linkster, 6 and 5.

'It was disappointing, definitely,' said Barrett, who trains at his family-owned Bretwood Golf Course in Keene. 'But at the same time it was also encouraging to get that far and still earn exemptions into three more tournaments.'

With his finish last month, Barrett received entry into the Aug. 22 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hill Golf Course in Erin, Wis., the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway, Utah, and next year's U.S. Junior Amateur to be held at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham.

Earlier in the tournament, Barrett defeated defending champion Jim Liu in the second round, 2 up, and defeated second-seeded Will Starke in the quarterfinals, 1 up.

'Chelso has come a long way this summer, shooting up the class of 2013 ranks from in the 3,000s to the top-10,' said Barrett's father Hugh. 'He was a bit surprised he did so well but it's great experience and it definitely boosted his confidence.'

Later in the month, the confidence boosts continued.

Barrett was a finalist in a four-way playoff at the 44th Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament at the Woodland Golf Club in Auburndale, Mass. He and winner John Gilmartin birdied the first hole, but Barrett parred the second to give Gilmartin the title.

The progression in Barrett's game over the past year is unmistakable.

'I've really just gotten stronger by working out and doing shoulder exercises in the gym,' said the younger Barrett. 'I've practiced harder but the part of my game I've worked on the most is the mental aspect. I've gotten better at not getting frustrated and instead of forcing scores I just let them come to me.'

It's paying off tremendously, as Barrett has Division I golf programs such as Texas Christian University, Duke, Virginia, and Florida heavily closely at the Keene High School junior.

'As long as I just stay relaxed and don't worry so much, it'll be easy to just go out there and just play golf.'

Barrett had a nearly-perfect ballot, receiving eight of nine first-place points and totaling 42 out of a possible 45 points. Bedford Legion pitcher Lucas Olen finished in second place with 19 points.

Other candidates were Goffstown pitcher Cam Bond, Penacook golfer Jim Cilley, Manchester pitcher Carmen Giampetruzzi, Manchester swimmer Cole Hogg, Manchester pitcher Brian Shea, Manchester cyclist Marti Shea, and Londonderry runner Elizabeth Troisi.

Previous 2011 winners are Whitney Fremeau, Manchester (women's basketball); Nick Lawrence, Plaistow (boys' wrestling); Emily Wadlinger, Lebanon (girls' swimming); Bobby Doyon, Keene (baseball); Keegan Taylor, Portsmouth (baseball) and D'Mahl McFadden, Merrimack Valley (track and field).

Golf Keene