Story by Evan Roberts, Texas A&M Athletics Communications
PARAMUS, New Jersey – Texas A&M men’s golfer Sam Bennett won the 122nd U.S. Amateur on Sunday after defeating Ben Carr, 1UP, at The Ridgewood Country Club.
In the 36-hole championship round, Bennett held up a 3UP lead after the first 18 holes and extended his lead to five after winning Nos. 2 and 3. Carr rebounded and cut the lead to two after back-to-back victories on holes five and six before winning hole 10.
Bennett, who had head coach Brian Kortan as his caddie, parred the par-4 No. 12 to extend his lead back to three. After Carr won hole 14, the pair halved the next two holes before Carr cut the lead to one following a birdie on 17. On the final hole, Bennett, who never trailed throughout the day, clinched the match with a par.
“It means everything. It’s a dream come true,” Bennett said. “It doesn’t even feel real looking at all these people on the 18th green at Ridgewood. It means a lot to hold that trophy. I’m sure tonight I’ll take a peek at all the names, but I know Tiger Woods’ names is on that three times, and to put my name beside him, I know it’s something pretty special.
“I have the utmost respect for Ben Carr. I know his family and his dad are super proud. He wouldn’t go away. I got off to a hot start and then after lunch he started dropping in putts and chips from everywhere. It made me nervous. I got pretty tight when that started happening. I think Coach did a good job as he was able to calm me down with deep breaths and stick to what we’ve been doing all week, just pounding fairways and hitting solid shots at the greens. Luckily I was able to finish it off with a good iron shot on the last. I kind of tugged it a bit, but it hung in there and I was able to get it done.”
Bennett, the No. 3 ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, was tested throughout the week in match play as he defeated No. 13 Nick Gabrelcik, No. 27 Fred Biondi, No. 10 David Puig, No. 9 Stewart Hagestad, No. 8 Dylan Menante and No. 70 Carr.
“You know, I know the road he’s been down, and I know some of the things he’s gone through,” Kortan said. “I mean, it’s been — everybody has written about it. But to see the kid mature and battle through those things and kind of come out the other end and still be this kid that enjoys doing this and enjoys being in college — he came back for another year because he actually enjoys it. It’s pretty cool to see. Yeah, we’re great friends. Doesn’t stop me from — if he misses a workout he’s going to run a stadium. We’ve got a great relationship, and I’m very fortunate for that. It was just a pleasure to watch.”
With the victory, Bennett will hold the coveted Havemeyer Trophy for a year and earns an exemption in to the 2023 Masters, The Open and U.S. Open.