WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va - Huntington's Pat Carter hooked up with some old friends during Thursday's first round of the fourth annual Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC.
It went beyond the modest gallery of fans that followed him while he scored a 5-over 75 on a course he has played dozens of times during his 13 West Virginia Amateur championships, multiple practice rounds and the years in which he wasn't victorious.
The 45-year-old Carter, a lifelong amateur, has played in 13 U.S. Amateur Championships, including in 2003 at Oakmont Country Club when he reached the quarterfinals before losing to Lee Williams.
Williams, who turned professional two years later, is in the Classic field, as well as Andy Svoboda, who Carter beat 1-up in the first round of match play in 2003.
"It was funny because Andrew Svoboda came up and talked to me and I beat him in the first round," Carter said. "We were talking, and obviously, he's a great player and won everything that year in college. Fortunately, I was playing well that week."
Carter played in his first U.S. Amateur in 1987, won by Billy Mayfair, another Classic participant. Carter also played in 1990 (Phil Mickelson), '91 (Mitch Voges), '92 (Justin Leonard), '94 (Tiger Woods), '96 (Woods), '98 (Hank Kuehne), '99 (David Gossett), 2004 (Ryan Moore), '05 (Edoardo Molinari), '06 (Richie Ramsay) and '11 (Kelly Kraft).
"I see a bunch of guys," Carter said. "I talked to Jason Gore. We played in Seattle at Sahalee (Sahalee Players Championship) and he was like, 'Holy cow, how long ago was that?' Time flies. I played with D.J. Trahan and he came up and said 'Hello.'"
Carter will likely need to shoot a 62 or lower to make today's cut of low 70 scores plus ties today.