PINEHURST, N.C. – Sam Houston State senior William Holcomb V lost his semifinal match to Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein, but you never would have known it by looking at him after the match.
“Smile, guys, it’s only golf,” he said with an ear-to-ear grin as he sat down for his post-match press conference.
Ranked 328th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Holcomb’s Texas-sized personality carried him further than he thought was possible at the 119th U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.
“All I can say is I’m blessed to even have gotten asked to be in this tournament, and I’m thankful that I was given the ability to play as well as I did,” said Holcomb. “It hasn’t really sunk in that it’s over, but I don’t think it’s even sunk in that I got as far as I did.”
If you were walking with Holcomb and caddie Keith Silva, a Pinehurst veteran looper who knows Donald Ross’ masterpiece better than anyone, or even watching the broadcast on TV, you heard the repartee of lifelong friends.
In reality, they’ve only known each other a few months, dating back to June’s North and South Amateur, also held at Pinehurst.
“Well, I met Keith at the North and South, and my first impressions were, this guy is a complete idiot,” Holcomb said of his sarcastic “hippie” caddie, whose ringtone is “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. “Once I learned kind of how he is, it’s been good.”
Their on-course antics attracted quite the gallery for the semifinal match. Holcomb said the fans fed off his and Silva’s energy and made it a unique experience.
“It was just a great group of people out there. The gallery was so kind and supportive. They just kind of fed off me and Keith,” explained Holcomb, who said he’s made over 300 friends this week. “It was awesome having everybody support me when I’m out there. I mean, it’s just a blessing to have so many friends.”
Speaking of friends, the Crockett, Texas native said his home club championship was cancelled for a U.S. Amateur watch party.
“I hope they move it to next weekend because I will be playing in it. And I will be winning it,” Holcomb said with a laugh, joking that the event should be switched to match play after his success this week.
While he came up short of a spot in next year’s Masters and U.S. Open – and a place on the 2019 U.S. Walker Cup team, an event which Holcomb says he knows nothing about – the 21-year-old has his priorities straight when it comes to his life.
“Well, I don’t just go shoot the ball at the golf course all day. I’ve got to get home to my wife,” Holcomb said in reference to his wife of two years, Graycie Lee, after his quarterfinal match on Friday. “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.”
After his semifinal match, Holcomb and his wife went out to play The Cradle, a par-3 course next to the Pinehurst clubhouse, for a fitting end to a great week.