A British man (and woman!) abroad - Barry Coomber
British born Barry Coomber has lived in Catalonia for 16 years. He has been playing Pitch and Putt for just two years but already he is an international Open winner. This is the reaction he gave to fippa.org after his victory in the Principality last September. "Winning the Andorra Open was a great experience for my short time of playing Pitch and Putt."
"Behind every man there is a great woman" is an old adage but one Coomber heartily subscribes to as Jane has been a huge support."Winning was only possible due to the support of my wife ('caddie'!) and a lot of hard work training prior to the event."
Barry's prior exposure to the Ordino track was limited but the course (and Andorra) entranced him. "I had only played the course a week before for a practice round. We had never been to Andorra before, beautiful place! The course was prepared perfectly and was a credit to the owners and maintenance team."
"Shooting 46 was the highlight of the weekend. Everything clicked into place," beams Barry of the eight birdie second round salvo that catapulted him right into contention.
That 46 left Barry tied at the top on Saturday night with former winner Toni Armengol (Andorra). We wondered what was the final round strategy for the naturalised Catalan? "My plan for the Sunday was really to match Toni's shots," reflected Barry, "then to apply a little matchplay pressure as we were both in a good position, fighting for 1st and 2nd place."
As is customary in major tournaments, the inward holes on Sunday proved crucial. "Key moment in the final round was on the back nine when there was a two shot swing in my favour; then Toni birdied 16 and I three putted. Ouch! I think he bogeyed 17. Then I birdied the last (it was nearly a hole in one!) to win by four!"
Barry enjoyed his company in the final group of the day. "Toni and Marc (Nogueiro) were a pleasure to play with and gentlemen of the game."
"There is no substitute for hard work" is another maxim of which Barry Coomber is an enthusiastic advocate. "My form has come from a lot of hard practice and my wife (Jane) as my 'caddie'. Everyone on the Pitch and Putt scene always recognise me as we are always a team, which brings huge confidence in turn."
Our initial chat with Barry was in advance of the 2019 Calatan Matchplay championship at Gualta. "My main ambitions are to succeed in the Matchplay and from then focus on next year's Ranking events and the pitch and putt majors. Also a chance to get into the Catalunya team would be fantastic!"
Prescient words indeed. Having initially spoken to golf and diving enthusiast Barry in the wake of his Andorra Open success, we were back in touch just three weeks after his triumph at Ordino, to congratulate the Gualta player on a memorable 4&2 win over Manuel Amor in the prestigious Catalan Matchplay final.
"The win in Andorra definitely helped as giving me confidence to win again," was Barry's cock-a-hoop assessment after the huge Matchplay triumph at Gualta. "Also when I last met Alex Albinana (Jnr.), I mentioned it would be great to copy his two victories last year!"
The fact that he has now replicated the 2018 feats of the Catalan 'wunderkind' demonstrates how far Girona resident Barry Coomber has progressed in such a short time span.