Brian Carter felt helpless walking off the final hole after the third round of play at the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur in Augusta, Mo.
The good news was that he had survived the first two rounds, made the cut to advance to a third round of play and his third-round score of five-under par 66 was one better than opponent Bhavik Patel's round of 67.
Still, Patel was the one moving on to the next round while Carter was eliminated.
"That's match play," Carter said. "You're playing against just one person. You're not playing against the field or the course. I beat him score-wise, but I didn't beat him in the match so I lost."
The one round of match play sent the Lakeside High School rising junior home, but he still finished better than any other local golfer at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
The two-time low medalist at the GHSA Class AAAA state tournament also turned some heads during his three days of play.
"When I first teed off on the second round there was just (coaches from) Georgia and Alabama," Carter said. "At the turn there were probably 10-12 colleges following me. It was schools like Ohio State and Texas. On 18 I had the Golf Channel filming me. They were right in my face."
All the attention came during a second-round comeback that saved Carter from missing the cut. His first-round score of 6-over par was less than perfect as some of the top junior golfers in the nation competed in two rounds of stroke play for a chance to place in the top 64 and advance to match play.
Carter did that with a second-round score of 68.
"I had the second tee time, which was 7:10 in the morning, so there was no one on the course. It was in perfect condition so I was more relaxed out there," he said. "I started out with five birdies on the first six holes, and I knew I could play easy golf from there on in and I'd make match play."
Carter did make match play by finishing 17th overall after two rounds of stroke play. He came up just short in advancing to the second round of match play even though he posted a better score overall than his competitor in the first round.
"If I would have played anybody other than him I would have won," Carter said. "He just really wanted to beat me. He never let up and didn't make many mistakes."
Even with the early exit, the three days of facing top competition did give Carter more exposure to college coaches. Carter has a full two years of high school golf left before he has to make a college decision but that hasn't stopped him from at least considering his options now.
"Right now it's between Georgia and Alabama," he said. "My friend, (Augusta Prep rising senior) Lee Knox, committed to Alabama last week, so that would be nice to play together. It just depends on who wants me most and how much I can play."
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