Although Brian Carter is in his first year as a member of the Lakeside golf team, the freshman is no stranger to the game.
"I was 2 years old when I started playing," he said. "I've grown up in West Lake, so it's been ever since I could walk."
Not only has he been playing since his second birthday but he also has been doing it well.
Carter said one of his fondest memories was when he got the chance to play with Augusta native and PGA Tour member Vaughn Taylor at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville. Taylor watched as Carter holed a 115-yard shot on the 15th hole for his first-ever eagle - and Carter was only 10.
With that type of childhood it was no surprise when Carter led his teammates to Lakeside's first-ever Class AAAA golf state championship. The Panthers claimed the title - because, in part, of Carter's score of 69 (3-under par) in the state competition at Fields Ferry Golf Course in Calhoun, Ga., on May 15.
Carter's round was the second-best score in the entire AAAA tournament.
"I walked over and gave him a big hug," sophomore Charlie Cason said when he heard Carter's score.
The rest of the team gave similar reactions to what Carter said was probably the best round of his life.
It didn't start out that way.
Carter struggled on Fields Ferry's par threes and made bogey at the 5th and 12th holes. He faced a similar situation on the 13th hole.
"I actually hit it so bad I was in the 14th fairway hitting off a clover patch," Carter said. "Fortunately, I hit the best putt of my life for par."
That putt was a 70-footer from off the green that dropped into the cup and sparked a strong run through the remaining five holes. The result was a round of 69 worthy of a state championship. "The biggest turnaround for him was the weekend we were in Aiken," Lakeside sophomore Tom Hardy said. "He shot 2-under par, and that was the big turning point. He's been playing great ever since."
With a state championship already under his belt as a freshman, Carter is looking to the future. He said a college career at the University of Georgia and a professional career on the PGA Tour are in his sights.
"My goal ever since I was 7 years old has been to be successful on the PGA Tour," he said. "Golf is my No. 1 priority right now."
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