This 17-year-old could make the cut at CareerBuilder Challenge
January 17, 2018
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Charlie Reiter on his hometown start before CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. — Charlie Reiter had aspirations of one day being inside the ropes as a competitor at the CareerBuilder Challenge — he just never expected it would be during his senior year at Palm Desert High School.
The 17-year-old local resident, who will attend the University of Southern California in the fall and said he's been coming to the event with his dad for as long as he can remember, received a sponsor exemption into the CareerBuilder Challenge, making him the first amateur in the tournament's 59-year history to be exempt into the field.
With friends and family expected to be in attendance, Reiter admitted to having some butterflies ahead of Thursday's tee time. But unlike most teenagers playing in a PGA TOUR event for the first time, he has a couple of things going in his favor — beginning with the fact that this won't be his maiden start against the pros.
Reiter earned an exemption into the 2017 Australian Open field via a junior tournament win last December and managed to become just one of four amateurs to make the cut out of the 156-player field.
He'll also have a familiar face on the bag this week in putting coach Dave Stockton Jr., who has been working with Reiter since he was 10 years old. Stockton finished in a tie for first place in 1993 at PGA TOUR Qualifying School when it was still held in La Quinta, giving him course knowledge that Reiter said could be invaluable this week.
"It's really nice to have him on the bag," Reiter said, "knowing that's he's played out on these courses and won out here kind of allows me to be more comfortable knowing he will be able to help me play through the course."
Reiter should feel more at ease having recently played a practice round with Jon Rahm at Bighorn Golf Club. Rahm walked away impressed by Reiter's game and demeanor — two things he believes could take him far in the game.
"First of all he's a great kid," Rahm said. "He's committed to USC, so I know he's a good student. He hits it far and when I mean far, I mean really far, like he can easily get it past me. And when we played the last time together I played really good.
"... He reminds me of Brandon Hagy, they're both similar builds, not the biggest guys, they're just fit and have a lot of power. He can get it out there."
After seeing how his game stacks up against one the best players in the world, Reiter will get another opportunity on Thursday when tees it up with a few rising twentysomethings in former top-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy, Adam Schenk and Denny McCarthy.
Asked what his expectations were for this week, Reiter said he's concentrating on one thing in particular: having fun.
"I'm not really expecting anything from the event," Reiter said. "I just want to go out here and have a good time and play as well as I possibly can.”