It was one of the odder couples on the course Tuesday.
The player: A 19-year-old from California named Thomas Lim, coming down the stretch of his first U.S. Amateur, just out of reach of making the two-day cut into match play.
His caddie: The 62-year-old Patrick Ford, who among other titles holds that of president of the host Atlanta Athletic Club.
“I went right to the top,” Lim joked.
The two were thrown together by mutual need. Travelling cross country, Lim arrived fully intending to carry his own bag. And he did Monday, despite having struggled all week with intestinal issues. The club’s caddie master approached the ailing Lim after the kid shot 4 over and offered him a complimentary bag mule.
Ford, who had caddied for Jim Ferree during the 1976 U.S. Open at the Athletic Club, was anxious to be something more than a figurehead. He wanted to get sweaty again, and had offered himself up as a caddie to anyone in need.
The tandem worked. Employing some of Ford’s local knowledge, Lim went 1 under Tuesday. Had he made his birdie putt on the final hole, he would have slipped into a playoff for one of the final match play spots, guaranteeing Ford another morning’s hard labor.
Ford’s reward was to hear that at 62, he still was holding together pretty well.
“He has good caddie legs,” Lim said.