Greenbrier notebook: After great experience, Carter's ready for a rest
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Tired, sore, relieved and happy - that about summed it up for Pat Carter on Friday.
The 13-time West Virginia Amateur champion followed his 75 on Thursday with a 73 on Friday and finished 8 over par, nine shots outside the cut line.
Carter had the best showing out of the West Virginia amateur exemption spot since Jonathan Bartlett made the cut in 2010 but did not finish. Christian Brand finished 11 over in 2011 and Jess Ferrell 14 over last year.
Carter said the experience was great, but he is excited to rest up a bit.
"It was awesome, everybody treated me very nice, it was a fun week and that's probably an understatement," Carter said.
"I have prepared the last month pretty hard, but I'm really going to be happy to put the clubs up for a while. I'm worn out, I'm hurting just from practicing so much - I'm not young anymore. It's not the age, it's the not doing it on a daily basis anymore. These guys walk, they practice, and that's how they stay in shape. I can tell I'm getting longer and by hitting more balls, I'm just going left and right."
Carter looked poised to go low for a while.
After starting on the back nine, he birdied No. 17, registered a par on No. 18 and birdied No. 1 to get it to 1 under par on the day. But as the temperature rose, Carter wore down a bit and finished the final eight holes at 4 over.
Then there was the situation on hole No. 15 in which Carter, for what he said was the first time in his golfing career, hit into the group ahead of him on a par 3.
Two players finished out putts and a caddie put the flag back in. But one player was down over the left side of the green preparing a chip shot when Carter fired away.
"I went through my normal routine," Carter explained. "I watched the guys ahead of me and obviously I felt terrible after I hit. I looked, they took a pin out, a couple of guys putted out, they put the pin back in, caddies walking to the right of the green, and I just grabbed my 5-iron, went through the same routine, and nobody said anything.
"I've never done anything like that in all my career of playing. I was glad I didn't hit anybody. I hope it didn't upset him too much."
While Carter didn't make the cut, he got a taste of the professional life, one he chose not to pursue. Now 45 years old, playing from the professional tees and having to survive walking 36 holes without being able to wear shorts, Carter said he was satisfied with his performance.
"My putting was great all week and my driver was better today but it wasn't good for two days," Carter said. "Overall, 75, 73 from those tees - I'm not disappointed."
It didn't take long for a trio of early birds to make a statement on Friday.
Daniel Summerhays and Jimmy Walker were in the first group to tee off at No. 1 and Bill Lunde was in the second group off No. 10, and each of the three put himself in great position heading into the weekend.
For Summerhays and Lunde, it was the second useful round in a row. Summerhays followed up Thursday's 5-under 65 with a 67 and Lunde fired back-to-back 66s.
Each sits at 8 under for the tournament, a stroke behind leader Matt Every.
"I made a 12-footer for par on my second hole, that kind of gets the round going all right," Summerhays said. "Then I hit one real close on 6 and another one on 8 with a 7-wood real close, so those easy birdies are always fun. I think the only difference from [Thursday] is I just didn't make as many putts, but again, I'm giving myself some good chances and they'll start falling on the weekend."
"More than anything today I thought I hit the ball better tee to green," Lunde said. "Didn't putt quite as good but still putted well. [Thursday] I made a couple really unexpected bombs out there. All in all, another solid day."
Summerhays is coming off a fifth-place finish in the 2012 Greenbrier Classic. Lunde finished tied for 81st in his only appearance in 2010.
For Walker, a charge at the Greenbrier Classic is nothing new after recording rounds in the 60s eight out of 10 times he's played here and finishing tied for fourth in both 2010 and 2011.
Walker missed the cut last year and, after shooting a 1-under 69 on Thursday, it looked in doubt until his 65 Friday.
"I haven't had a good round in a while so it was nice to have a good round, keep it going, play well," Walker said. "Sixty-five around here is good, that was nice, I was happy to see some putts go in so that was exciting."
The last two champions of the Greenbrier Classic were also on the course early and also took advantage of favorable conditions.
2012 champ Scott Stallings registered a 3-under 67 while defending champion Ted Potter Jr. tallied a 4-under 66 to get to 5 under for the tournament. Stallings shot an even-par 70 on Thursday and is at 3 under overall.
Potter's exploits are perhaps even more impressive when considering his playing mates were Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, who commanded the biggest gallery.
"[It was] the first time I played with both of them and it's pretty neat to have three lefties in the group, so that was interesting," Potter said. "I felt like I handled it pretty well out there, especially with some big galleries which I'm not used to, so definitely felt good about it."
Stallings, who has dropped around 27 pounds since October, said he is feeling well and is dealing better with the grind of a 30-tournament schedule after dealing with some back issues.
He also said he felt like he scored as high as he could, despite dealing with a few oddities on the course on Friday.
"I slipped on the tee on 2 and hit it left and made a bogey," Stallings said. "Then I make a good birdie on 5 to get back to 4 under and I go to 6 and I hit it just a little right, it hits a guy in the shoulder and goes right next to the fence. I'm not saying I would've made birdie but I probably wouldn't have made bogey."
Kenny Perry was being interviewed on the clubhouse patio after his round of 67 when he talked about how well his game has stood up to the test of time. He is nearly 53 years old and is splitting his appearances between the PGA and Champion tours.
Ticking off his abilities, he mentioned that "I'm still hitting it long." Lee Janzen, not exactly a whippersnapper at 48, was walking past the interview area to the first hole and couldn't resist.
"You hit short," Janzen quipped.
"Hit longer than you!" Perry replied.
Janzen took the last word: "Go take some Advil."
In the battle for a British Open berth, Charles Howell III left himself vulnerable by missing the cut.
He was 18th in the FedExCup standings entering the week and fifth among those who have not qualified for the Open, played in two weeks at Muirfield in Scotland. Up to five bids will be given out this week to the top five not-yet-exempt players among the overall top 20.
Joining Howell in missing the cut were Boo Weekley, who is ninth in the points race, and No. 21 Ken Duke. Weekley appears to be safe.
So does No. 5 Billy Horschel, who did make the cut. No. 16 Russell Henley will make it if he stays near the leaderboard, while No. 17 Harris English did not enter this week.
Graham DeLaet entered the week at No. 23 but needs to rise far from the cut line to top Howell. No. 24 Jimmy Walker, tied for 11th after 36 holes, needs a big weekend.
But a number of players can seize a British berth with a victory this weekend, and the 500 points that brings. Finishing alone in second wins 300 points.