Bennett holds on and beats Carr to capture US Amateur

Aug 21, 2022, 3:06 AM | Updated: 4:25 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) — A tough road led to the sweetest finish for Sam Bennett in the U.S. Amateur.

Even with so many top stars who either didn’t qualify or got knocked out in the opening round, Bennett had to face the rest of the best, match after match, to get to the championship match Sunday at Ridgewood Country Club.

The Texas A&M senior finished the job to win the biggest tournament of his lie.

Bennett, the No. 3 player in the world amateur ranking, took a 3-up lead at lunch, expanded the lead to 5 holes and then had to hold off Georgia Southern senior Ben Carr, winning 2 up.

“I got off to a hot start, then after lunch, he started dropping in putts and chips from everywhere,” Bennett said. “It made me nervous. I got pretty tight.”

But then, Bennett is used to tough times.

His golf roots start on a hardscrabble 9-hole course in tiny Madisonville, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston, where his late father showed him how to play. His father saw enough passion that he bought a membership at A&M’s home course where they went twice a month until Bennett was old enough to drive.

There was plenty of belief at Ridgewood. Bennett knew he faced tough opponents, and he knew he was just as good. And he played like it.

There were a few dodgy moments on the home stretch, and one shot Carr no doubt would love to have back.

Both missed short putts on the 12th hole, and Bennett maintained a 3-up lead going to the long par-5 13th. Even with a big lead, Bennett chose to smash fairway metal, and instead pulled it so far left of the green that it went out-of-bounds in some hedges.

Carr also went with fairway metal and followed him out-of-bounds, and they wound up halving the hole with bogeys.

But then right when it looked as though Bennett had it locked up, he three-putted the next hole from 25 feet, missing a 3-footer.

Carr missed birdie chances on the next two holes. On the par-5 17th, Carr had a 15-footer to stay in the match. He made it to win the hole, and Bennett went to the 18th with a 1-up lead.

Carr missed the fairway to the right and went into the collar of rough around the green. Bennett smoked his drive into the fairway, hit to 12 feet and when Carr didn’t hole his chip, Bennett had two putts to win.

He lagged it to inches and it was over.

“Luckily, I was able to finish it off with a good iron shot,” Bennett said.

Bennett is exempt into the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open next year.

“It means everything,” Bennett said about the victory. “It’s a dream come true. … It means a lot to hold that trophy.”

The consolation for Carr is the traditional invitation to the Masters, along with a spot in the U.S. Open next year.

“It’s what you dream of as a kid,” Carr said. “It didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I couldn’t have lost to a better competitor. I played very well this week.”

Bennett’s father, Mark, died last summer. The memory is never too far away. When his father was in early stages of Alzheimer’s, one of the last messages he had for his son while they still could communicate was, “Don’t wait to do something.” Bennett had his father write it out, and he had it transferred to the inside of his arm as a tattoo. He sees it every time he swings.

In this case, he waited to finish at Texas A&M, to give the U.S. Amateur one last shot. And it paid off in a big way.


More AP golf: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

Bennett holds on and beats Carr to capture US Amateur