Leesville Road's Jenkins has crazy weekend ahead

Leesville Road junior has rough start in Rex Hospital Open

Staff writerJune 10, 2011 

— Carter Jenkins admitted to being nervous leading up to Thursday's opening round of the Rex Hospital Open.

Jenkins, 15, would be playing in a professional golf tournament for the first time.

There also was the matter of an English exam at Leesville Road High on Wednesday.

Which was more unnerving?

"That's a tough one because English is my worst subject," Jenkins said, smiling.

In Jenkins' case, "worst" meant he had a borderline A. It's hard to say what kind of grade he would give himself for his 5-over 76 on a steamy Thursday at TPC Wakefield Plantation.

Then again, he's the third-youngest golfer to play in a Nationwide Tour event. A rising junior at Leesville Road, he's not old enough to drive himself to the golf course.

Jenkins, who has committed to play college golf at UNC Greensboro, gained his spot in the Rex field by winning the Rex Hospital Open Junior Invitational on Sunday at Wakefield. He beat out Leesville Road teammate Grayson Murray, who won the junior event last year and then became the second-youngest player to survive a 36-hole cut on the Nationwide Tour.

"That does throw a little extra pressure on," Jenkins said.

Helping to ease the tension Thursday was having his father, Bobby, as his caddie.

"Most of the time, it was comforting," Carter said, grinning again. "There were times he would talk a little more than I wanted."

Bobby Jenkins said it was tough being on the bag, noting, "You live and die every shot." And there were some nervy shots early.

Jenkins, who started his round on the 10th hole, bogeyed three of the first five holes. He double-bogeyed the par-3 16th, his seventh hole, when his tee shot sucked back off the green into the water.

But Jenkins birdied the 18th hole, then ran off a string of three birdies beginning at the par-4 third hole.

"I gathered myself on the back side," he said.

Jenkins' support group behind the ropes included his golf teacher, Ed Ibarguen, director of golf at Duke University Golf Club. There also were his grandparents, Ray and Sandy Paine, who drove down from Philadelphia.

But not just to see Carter play. Carter's sister, Abby, is graduating from Leesville Road this week. She also has some dance recitals for the family to attend.

"It's been a very busy week," Bobby Jenkins said.

"Crazy," added Carter.

And not over yet.

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