U.S. Amateur: Outgoing personality carries William Holcomb V to semifinals

USGA/Chris Keane

U.S. Amateur: Outgoing personality carries William Holcomb V to semifinals

Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Outgoing personality carries William Holcomb V to semifinals

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PINEHURST, N.C. – William Holcomb V has a personality the size of Texas, and the native of the Longhorn State is riding his wave of positivity into the semifinals at the 119th U.S. Amateur.

Even if that means lying to himself on the course.

“I learned if things are going bad, I have to lie to myself,” explained Holcomb. “I have to tell myself, ‘I’m fine, I’m the best driver of the golf ball.’ I mean, if you’re thinking negative, you’re going to fulfill that prophecy.”

The Sam Houston State senior from Crockett, Texas, has “had a hell of a time” at Pinehurst this week, but that wasn’t the case at June’s North and South Amateur. Holcomb advanced to the first round of match play here at “The Cradle of American Golf,” but lost to eventual champion – and fellow Texan – Cooper Dossey in the Round of 32.

U.S. AMATEUR: Match play results | Photo gallery

Keith Silva, a veteran Pinehurst No. 2 caddie who knows Donald Ross’ masterpiece better than anyone, has been on the bag for Holcomb this week, just as he was in June. The blossoming relationship between the two has been a major factor in their success the second time around.

Players and fans walk through the rain to the fifth hole during the quarterfinals at the 2019 U.S. Amateur. Photo: USGA/Chris Keane

“I want to have fun on the golf course, and Keith has been making that real easy,” said Holcomb. “Honestly, I didn’t think he was that big of a help in the North and South. Maybe he wasn’t comfortable around me or something. But this week he’s been phenomenal.”

Whether he’s complimenting his own read – and not the putt itself – or telling Holcomb to simply focus or “smile for the cameras,” Silva’s on-course antics have brought out the best in his player this week. That, and the competition itself.

“I love trying to win. You know, I don’t play the game because I love
hitting the ball,” said Holcomb, who quickly walked back the comment and compared hitting balls before his round to mowing the lawn. “It’s like therapy. It just kind of mellowed me out.”

Along with his positive attitude, one other thing separates Holcomb from other college players: the wedding ring on his finger. Holcomb has been married to his wife, Graycie Lee, for two years, and their marriage has put things in perspective for the 21-year-old.

“Well, I don’t just go shoot the ball at the golf course all day. I’ve got to get home to my wife,” he says with a smile. “You know, it puts things, I guess, into perspective. I mean, these guys out here, they’re living for this — this is what they’ve — they want to win more than anything. I mean, I want to win, but there’s other things that I’d rather happen in this world than me win the U.S. Amateur.”

That said, he’s just 54 holes and 36 hours from accomplishing that very feat.

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