Bobby Jenkins dropped the golf bag outside the ropes by the 18th green Saturday at TPC Wakefield Plantation, his day’s work done, his frustration apparent.
The caddie, hands on hips, stood for a few seconds staring back down the 18th fairway, as if imagining what might have been. Early in the third round of the Rex Hospital Open, after a run of five straight birdies, any score seemed possible, but Jenkins’ player later had a pair of double-bogeys in a 2-under 69.
The player, Carter Jenkins, could accept the round a little easier than his caddie, his dad.
“Some days, those things happen,” Carter Jenkins said. “You make a bunch of birdies, and you have a couple of holes that make the score look a lot worse than the score actually was. It’s easy to get down on yourself when things like that happen but that’s golf.”
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As for his dad’s anguish …
“Well, he’s a father and and he’s pulling, after every shot, probably harder for me than anybody,” Jenkins said. “He just wants to see me do well and be successful, and if he could have it his way I would shoot 65 every day. Unfortunately it’s golf. It doesn’t work that way.”
Bobby Jenkins is an assistant law professor at UNC Charlotte and an adjunct professor of law at North Carolina. He traveled with Carter last summer after the Raleigh native and former UNC golfer competed on the Mackenzie Tour/PGA Tour Canada and is back on the bag as Carter attempts to establish himself this year on the Web.com Tour.
Bobby Jenkins does most of the driving and sets up the hotels, washes clothes, handles the logistics of travel. Then carries the bag. Call it a labor of love, but his work allows Carter more time to focus on his golf.
“I’ve always told him when we’re on the golf course don’t treat me like your father, and I try my best never to speak to him in my role as his father,” Bobby Jenkins said. “It’s simply I’m out there doing my job and it’s whatever he wants.
“When we’re not on the golf course, I’m his Dad. Sometimes on the ride home I might talk to him like a father.”
Carter, 21, said his father gives him both a pat on the back and a kick in the rear when he needs it, although noting, “I tend to give myself that kick in the butt without his assistance because I’m pretty hard on myself.”
Jenkins, a tour rookie, and his dad were doing a lot of fist-bumping early in the third round. After surviving the 36-hole cut in the Rex, Jenkins went out Saturday and start making birdies.
“It’s fun when you get it going, and it seems like you’re never going to miss a shot,” he said.
He birdied the third with a 3-foot putt. He reached the par-5 fourth in two and two-putted for birdie. A 12-footer dropped at the fifth and he had a 2-footer for birdie at the sixth. At the seventh, he rolled in a 10-footer for his fifth straight birdie.
“I was thinking I was going to birdie every hole,” he said, smiling. “I was thinking this could really be something today.”
Jenkins pushed his drive into the rough at the eighth and was unable to find his ball. Playing a second ball, he finished with a double-bogey 6.
He birdied the 10th and 13th holes, but then bogeyed the par-4 14th and picked up another double at the par-4 17th.
Of the 14th, Jenkins said, “That hole has had my number all week. I’ve bogeyed it every single day, doing something different – in the hazard, then over the green, then on the green and three-putted.”
At the 17th, Jenkins hit another poor drive and said he tried to “punch-cut” a 7-iron approach. It clipped a tree branch and bounced into the hazard.
“There was a lot of good to take from today and just a little bit of bad,” Jenkins said. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll have the round I deserved and should have had today, and we’ll be all good.”
And his caddie a happy man.