Waynesville’s Carter Page recently competed in his first PGA Tour event. After finishing second in the Monday qualifier for the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, he shot two under par on Thursday and Friday, just missing the four-under cut.
Page played four seasons for Tuscola golf from 2008-12. He then played four years for NC State Golf, staying in the Wolfpack’s five-man rotation for much of his college career, and ranking 10th in school history with 125 rounds played in tournament play.
After spending some time in amateur golf playing in mini tournaments around the country, Page turned pro in late 2016, gaining full status in Canada’s PGA Tour and playing on and off in the Mackenzie tour in 2017. He did not maintain that status the following year, but continued to play amateur golf before qualifying for Wyndham.
While his stay in that tournament was brief, Page gained valuable experience in his first PGA event. The Mountaineer caught up with Page to discuss his recent successes and his golf career.
The Mountaineer: What did it mean to you to qualify for your first PGA Tour event?
Carter Page: It felt really good. Kind of something that I’ve been working towards really since I was in high school and since I started getting recruited to go to different schools. Having some success in college, that was proving to me that maybe I could make a run at being on the PGA Tour.
So it was nice to qualify for it, especially in my home state and right down the road from NC State, have my parents be able to come and watch. It’s not like I qualified for one out in California and made it tough for them to come. I was lucky enough to qualify for one right here in Greensboro so they could drive three hours down the road. But it feels great to see some of the practice and the hard work I’ve put in the last couple years starting to pay off, show some results in some tournaments.
TM: What did you learn from that experience?
CP: Really I proved to myself that I can definitely hang with the guys out there. I can definitely play and compete with some of the best players in the world. I left some shots out there and I didn’t really make a whole lot of putts, not as many as I would have liked.
I got off to a pretty shaky start. I bogied my first three holes and was able to recover and play pretty well after that, but only missing the cut by two, being right there and like I said I didn’t have my A game. It was good but I know I left shots out there. I’m still able to compete with the best players in the world, so it’s nice to learn that I really can compete out there and hopefully make a name for myself in the future.
TM: Looking back at your time here playing for the Tuscola golf program and your time on the amateur circuit, what did that mean to you and how did it shape you?
CP: [Playing at Tuscola] was obviously a good time. … We [had a good team] my junior year. My junior year was a fun year. We made it to states that year and I think we finished fourth. That was fun.
I think traveling around playing junior golf around the country and around the state got me prepared for all my future tournaments, all my future events in college and stuff. Those are more so all the guys that I’ve been competing with throughout junior golf and amateur golf, and now into professional golf.”
TM: What about your time at NC State? What did that do for you?
CP: It did a lot for me I’d say. It helped me grow up a little bit. It helped me mature being on my own. My freshman year, we had a guy on my team [Albin Choi] who was the ACC player of the year that year. Just being around guys like that who are better than me or just as good as me and being able to learn from them, and just continually learn things about the game and how to get better out there. It’s huge over the years and I tried to learn every year that I could.
TM: How has it felt to get to represent Waynesville and Tuscola as your hometown and where you came from on this larger stage of golf?
CP: It feels great, I’m not going to lie. It is kind of a small town, so it does feel good. I hope that I can continue to do it. Just because I made it to this one event, I don’t want to get complacent or anything.
I want to continue to work and continue to represent Waynesville and hopefully put them on the map, kind of how [Wyndham winner] J.T. Poston is with Western Carolina. Western Carolina’s getting a lot of notoriety right now because of him and the fact that he played there. It feels great and I’m always going to remember where I came from. We’re all just a kid from somewhere. So it feels good.
TM: What have been some of the biggest influences on your golf career?
CP: I would say getting to play at NC State and getting to play at an ACC school for four years. ACC golf is pretty stacked in general and so you get to play around a lot of good players all the time. A lot of good teams. Like I said, just doing that and competing against those guys, and beating them sometimes, I just kind of feel like it gives you confidence. Golf is a game that’s all about confidence.
So when you see yourself competing against and sometimes beating other good players, other players that have had success on a national level, it gives you confidence that you can do it too.
That’s why I think you see so many young players out on tour now, and coming right out of college that aren’t scared to go out there and win because they’ve played against all these other players their entire life and they see them having success. So you know you can have success too. So I would say that is definitely a huge influence on everything.
My parents as well, my parents have always been there for me 100 percent of the way. Taking me to and paying for all these things throughout junior golf and allowing me to have these opportunities growing up to where I’m headed now.
TM: Who are some of your role models in the game of golf that you’ve watched and looked up to?
CP: Obviously growing up as a young kid, Tiger Woods. This new generation of young golfers, they’re all products of watching Tiger Woods play growing up. Just watching him dominate when we were young and saying ‘Hey, I want to be that guy.’
I would definitely say Jordan Speith as well. He’s a young guy who came out on tour and had success right away that kind of has an unorthodox swing. Ricky Fowler, Justin Thomas. Justin’s a guy I’ve gotten to know a little bit down in Jupiter and he’s a super nice guy. He’s always willing to help out or give a bit of advice if I pick his brain about something.
TM: What’s next for you?
CP: I have a thing called qualifying school in October. And that will be to get status on the Korn Ferry tour, formerly known as the webb.com tour, which is the tour directly beneath the PGA Tour. Every professional golfer coming out now has to spend a year out on the Korn Ferry Tour and they’re able to gain their PGA Tour card through that. So that’s basically my next PGA Tour sanctioned big event coming up. That’s in October. Other than that, just a couple small, mini-tour events just to hopefully win some money and keep my game sharp in the meantime.