Carter improves, still misses cut
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- PGA Tour player Scott Gardiner said Pat Carter, the 13-time West Virginia Amateur golf champion from Huntington, held his own for two rounds in a demanding setting at The Greenbrier Classic.
Gardiner, Carter and Paul Haley II were paired together for Thursday and Friday rounds on the Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier Resort.
"He was a pleasure to play with," Gardner said late Friday afternoon. "He hit a lot of good shots. He made quite a showing."
Carter improved his score by two strokes Friday to a 3-over-par 73 and missed the 36-hole cut with a two-round score of 148. Gardiner and Haley won't be playing this weekend either after carding 70 -- 142 and 73 -- 147 respectively.
It was an awesome experience, Carter said.
"Everyone treated me so nice," he said. "It was a fun week and that's an understatement."
Carter said he putted great all week and hit his driver better Friday, but not good enough for the two days. He said shooting 75 and 73 from the same tees as the pros wasn't too bad.
The insurance executive will be back home Saturday cheering for his son, Hogan, and the Barboursville Little League Baseball age 11-12 all-star team when they play for the District 1 championship and a State Tournament berth.
As for golf, the clubs will be put away for a while. Carter said he'll get in some practice and rounds with friend Steve Fox at Guyan Golf and Country Club. Later this month, he'll start preparing for his State Am title defense. The tournament is Aug. 5-8 back at The Greenbrier on the Old White TPC and Greenbrier courses. For the State Am, Old White TPC won't be as long as this week.
Carter knew the week would be enjoyable, but a bit stressful since he's 45 and many of the PGA Tour players are in their 20s and 30s.
"I prepared hard the last month," he said. "I'm happy to put the clubs away for a while. I'm hurting. It's not age. They do this on a daily basis. They're in golf shape. I don't do that."
Carter knew he had to keep mistakes to a minimum. Two miscues Thursday led to double-bogeys. On Friday he had a bad lie in the left bunker No. 6 and was forced to play a sideways shot and that led to another double-bogey.
The golf course was hard, but he didn't play terrible, he said.
Carter had an anxious moment on the par-3 15th. Thinking the green was clear, he teed off and his 5-iron landed on the green. However, the third member of the threesome ahead had just come out of the left bunker and wasn't finished with the hole, even though the flag had been put back in the hole and two other members of the group appeared headed to the next tee.
Jin Park put his hands up and finished the hole.
"I went through my normal routine," Carter said. "The pin was out, back in and guys and caddies walked to the right. I felt terrible. I'm glad I didn't hit anybody."
Carter found out how good the pros are on the par-5 17th (616 yards). Gardner went for the green on his second shot, pulled it left and the ball bounced off the cart path and came to rest near the merchandise pavilion. After a ruling, he dropped on the mulch in the area and his pitch came to rest about three feet from the hole. He made the putt for birdie.
"He can play," Carter said of Gardner, who belted five 300-plus yard drives Friday. "It shows just how tough it is out here."
Carter also birdied the 17th, one of two on his card Friday.