After dad’s USGA victory, Carter Toms chases his own in U.S. Amateur

Carter Toms/LSU Courtesy LSU

After dad’s USGA victory, Carter Toms chases his own in U.S. Amateur

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After dad’s USGA victory, Carter Toms chases his own in U.S. Amateur

When it comes to golf, the past couple of weeks have been hard to beat for Carter Toms.

Two weeks ago, Toms had a front-row seat to his father’s victory at the U.S. Senior Open. David Toms’ regular caddie, Scott Gneiser, fell ill and couldn’t carry the bag for the first two rounds at The Broadmoor. So Carter grabbed the caddie bib and filled in. By Sunday evening, the Toms family was celebrating David’s first U.S. Golf Association title and senior major victory.

“I had never caddied before, so I didn’t know really what I was doing. I was just trying to stay out of the way,” said Carter via phone. “… But we had a blast out there.”

Now, Carter Toms will have a chance to match his dad with a USGA victory of his own. The 20-year-old Toms shot 4-under 138 Monday at his home course, East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport, La., to qualify for his first U.S. Amateur – and first USGA championship.

“Qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, it’s such a big deal because it’s such a big tournament and hard to qualify for,” said Carter, who had led after 18 holes in a U.S. Amateur qualifier last summer before falling two shots short.

“It’s so hard to stay focused for 36 holes and not make some crazy mental mistake and really cost yourself a chance to qualify.”

With two tickets to Pebble Beach for the Aug. 13-19 championship on the line, Toms was 4 under through five holes at East Ridge, only to squander a few shots down the stretch to open in 1-under 70.

A disappointed Carter found his dad during lunch and said to his father, “I really kind of messed this one up.”

To which the elder Toms responded: “Go out and shoot you a low number. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Carter added an afternoon 68, capped by a birdie at the par-4 18th hole, where he wedged his approach to 6 inches.

“It was nice to not have any pressure on that last putt,” said Carter, who advanced to the U.S. Amateur along with Louisiana-Lafayette golfer Jack Tolson. Carter, a rising junior, will be one of four current LSU golfers in the field for next month’s U.S. Amateur, joining Philip Barbaree, Jacob Bergeron and Luis Gagne, all of whom qualified for the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. (Gagne was co-low amateur.)

Carter has never played Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill before, but he’s watched his father play the course in both the 2010 U.S. Open and a few AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams. Based on what he remembers, he expects a firm and fast test for the U.S. Amateur.

“If that course doesn’t get any rain, it can be as hard as any of them just because the greens are so small and they get firm and baked out,” Carter said.

David will be the one watching from outside the ropes next month. A bad back will prevent him from returning the favor and caddying for his son. Instead, Gneiser will carry the bag.

“I got really lucky with that,” Carter said.

Carter played just three times for LSU last season with no starts this spring. In January, he got sick and his game suffered. However, he found something toward the end of the spring.

Now, he’s a few weeks away from competing for the biggest prize in U.S. amateur golf.

“This will definitely be the biggest tournament I’ve ever gotten to play in,” Carter said.

It’s already been a summer to remember. Gwk

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