With Will Wilcox on his bag, Ben Carr reaches U.S. Amateur Championship semifinals
PARAMUS, N.J. — Sometimes things work out perfectly.
Ben Carr defeated Nick Price, the 1,212th-ranked amateur in the world, to advance to the U.S. Amateur Championship semifinals with former PGA Tour player Will Wilcox on his bag.
Wilcox hasn’t made a Tour start since 2017. Earlier this year, the 36-year-old opened up about his struggles with drug abuse. He played the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am in June but missed the cut. However, Wilcox told GolfChannel.com Friday that he isn’t planning a comeback campaign. After 30 years of competition, he’s planning on doing “other golf stuff” and running a water mitigation business with his friend in Atlanta.
So how did Carr, a fifth-year at Georgia Southern University, and Wilcox link up this week?
Wilcox “randomly” moved from Jupiter, Florida, to Columbus, Georgia, in 2018. They’re both members of the Country Club of Columbus and started playing golf together frequently during the pandemic.
Carr’s younger brother started his sophomore year at the University of Georgia this week. Knowing his brother would be unavailable to loop for him this week, Carr, who’s No. 70 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, posted on Instagram about a month ago that he needed a caddie at Ridgewood Country Club.
Carr received a bunch of responses but nothing “felt really right.” Then, Wilcox messaged Carr that he was already going to be in the New York area this week to see Rage Against the Machine at Madison Square Garden.
“I just figured it was too good to pass up, and it was,” Carr told GolfChannel.com after his quarterfinal match.
It has, indeed, turned out to be a perfect match.
“(Wilcox has) helped me a ton,” Carr said. “Anything that goes with being a good caddie, he’s got it. He keeps me grounded. He’s a great green reader, good with numbers, good decision-maker.”
Those skills were crucial toward the end of the match. Carr was 4 up through 11 holes, but Price made a push late, cutting the lead to 1 up through 16.
“We just had such a big lead and then [Carr] got a little bit down,” Wilcox said, “and then I was like, ‘Bro, after 15 holes you have a 2 up lead, we would have taken that at the start of the day.’ So, you just got to stay in the moment. If you’re leading, you can’t get down, and he was trying to get down, and I was like, ‘Dude, you’re leading in the quarters, let’s go.'”
Carr and Wilcox closed out the victory on the 17th hole and will face Derek Hitchner Saturday in the semifinals. They hope to ride their chemistry for another two days and leave the Garden State with the Havemeyer Trophy.
“We just had so much fun out there,” Carr said. “Two guys from Alabama and Georgia, just up here in New Jersey, almost like a foreign country, just having a good time on the golf course.”