PARAMUS, N.J. — A troublesome highway led to the sweetest end for Sam Bennett within the U.S. Beginner.
Even with so many prime stars who both did not qualify or bought knocked out within the opening spherical, Bennett needed to face the remainder of the most effective, match after match, to get to the championship match Sunday at Ridgewood Nation Membership.
The Texas A&M senior completed the job to win the most important event of his life.
Bennett, the No. 3 participant on this planet beginner rating, took a 3-up lead at lunch, expanded the result in 5 holes after which needed to maintain off Georgia Southern senior Ben Carr, successful 2 up.
“I bought off to a sizzling begin, then after lunch, he began dropping in putts and chips from in all places,” Bennett mentioned. “It made me nervous. I bought fairly tight.”
However then, Bennett is used to robust occasions.
His golf roots begin on a hardscrabble 9-hole course in tiny Madisonville, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston, the place his late father confirmed him methods to play. His father noticed sufficient ardour that he purchased a membership at A&M’s house course, the place they went twice a month till Bennett was sufficiently old to drive.
There was loads of perception at Ridgewood. Bennett knew he confronted robust opponents, and he knew he was simply nearly as good. And he performed prefer it.
There have been just a few dodgy moments on the homestretch, and one shot Carr little question would like to have again.
Each missed quick putts on the twelfth gap, and Bennett maintained a 3-up lead going to the lengthy par-5 thirteenth. Even with an enormous lead, Bennett selected to smash fairway metallic, and as a substitute pulled it to this point left of the inexperienced that it went out of bounds in some hedges.
Carr additionally went with fairway metallic and adopted him out of bounds, they usually wound up halving the opening with bogeys.
However then proper when it seemed as if Bennett had it locked up, he three-putted the following gap from 25 toes, lacking a 3-footer.
Carr missed birdie probabilities on the following two holes. On the par-5 seventeenth, Carr had a 15-footer to remain within the match. He made it to win the opening, and Bennett went to the 18th with a 1-up lead.
Carr missed the golf green to the proper and went into the collar of tough across the inexperienced. Bennett smoked his drive into the golf green, hit to 12 toes, and when Carr did not gap his chip, Bennett had two putts to win.
He lagged it to inches and it was over.
“Fortunately, I used to be in a position to end it off with iron shot,” Bennett mentioned.
Bennett is exempt into the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship subsequent 12 months.
“It means all the pieces,” Bennett mentioned in regards to the victory. “It is a dream come true. … It means rather a lot to carry that trophy.”
The comfort for Carr is the standard invitation to the Masters, together with a spot within the U.S. Open subsequent 12 months.
“It is what you dream of as a child,” Carr mentioned. “It did not work out the best way I needed, however I could not have misplaced to a greater competitor. I performed very nicely this week.”
Bennett’s father, Mark, died final summer season. The reminiscence isn’t too far-off. When his father was within the early levels of Alzheimer’s, one of many final messages he had for his son whereas they nonetheless may talk was, “Do not wait to do one thing.” Bennett had his father write it out, and he had the message transferred to the within of his arm as a tattoo. He sees it each time he swings.
On this case, he waited to complete at Texas A&M, to provide the U.S. Beginner one final shot. And it paid off in an enormous method.