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Georgia Southern's Ben Carr preps for his shot at the Masters in Augusta
GS Golf
Georgia Southern's Ben Carr holds the ball up to a cheering crowd after sinking a putt at 18 to win the individual title during the third round of the Schenkel Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club on Sunday, March 19. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Georgia Southern golfer Ben Carr was totally focused on the task a few weeks ago as he captured his first Schenkel Invitational individual title, and helped the team to back-to-back Schenkel wins for the first time in school history. 

A golfer maintaining focus isn’t a story in itself, but considering Carr will be fulfilling a childhood dream in less than two weeks by competing at Augusta National at the Masters Tournament, you could see how he may be a little distracted. 

“It may have been a little difficult to focus, but the Schenkel has been on my calendar since last year,” said Carr. “I was really looking forward to playing in my last Schenkel and hopefully getting the team win and the individual win on top of that. It was a little tough to focus when you think about what is coming up, but that tournament means so much to me I was pretty dialed in.” 

After completing his win on Sunday Carr had one day to rest up and prepare for his third practice round at Augusta National as he and his younger brother Sackett went up Tuesday. Carr said it was a surreal moment when he and his brother made their first trip down Magnolia Lane for his first practice round in February. 

“We pulled in and he was in his car behind me and I kept looking back to see his facial expression and he was just wide eyed,”Carr said. “We stayed there overnight and we were there for like 36 hours. It was an awesome experience, but I was also so nervous I was walking on eggshells. The good thing is I am finally starting to feel a little more comfortable there.” 

Carr received his golden ticket thanks to a runner up finish at the U.S. Amateur Championship this past August at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus N.J. He admits the fact that he received an invitation to The Masters as well as this year’s U.S Open didn’t really sink in until he had nowhere to go for a while. 

“A little while after I got home from the tournament, I got COVID,” Carr said. “I was stuck in my room without much to do and that is when I really thought about it and it became real.” 

Carr has gained some information about Augusta National from some Tour Pros who have played competitive rounds there, but he has also learned some things from the brief three rounds he has played there himself. 

“I feel like the biggest thing for me is just learning where not to hit it,” Carr said. “With every hole there are spots you just have to avoid, especially depending on the hole location. I have just tried to figure out where you can miss it. I think that is a common theme you hear from guys who have had success there. It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about not making big mistakes. If you are able to keep the ball in front of you and miss it in the right spots and roll in a few putts you can possibly be playing on the weekend.” 

Watching the tournament on television for years Carr says the biggest thing he has noticed by playing his practice rounds is what even HD television can’t truly show you, and that is the elevation changes throughout the course. 

“Watching it on television you just don’t realize how big the slopes are on the fairways and on the greens and really everywhere,” Carr said. “There is just so much elevation change everywhere you look. I’m starting to figure out how to use some of the slopes to my advantage which has been a key for me.  

The Eagles are coming off a solid showing at the Valspar Collegiate in which Carr placed second individually, and they will play this weekend in the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational. Despite the tournament taking place in Augusta, Carr will not be playing with the team as he focuses on The Masters, but he will actually still be staying with the team and rooting them on. 

“It’s going to be strange, but I plan on going to watch them play on Saturday,” Carr said. “I will stay with the team Saturday night. It is important for me to let them know I am still part of the team. It’s funny that we have a tournament that will be in Augusta and it’s weird not to play. One of the gifts for playing in the that tournament is you get practice round badges for the Monday at Augusta National so I am glad they will all get to be there and it will be fun to have them there while I play a practice round.”