Jack Carr and Abigail Ante. Photo by Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

Abigail Ante and Jack Carr grew up in front of each other’s eyes as well as those of the quaint but quirky local golf community. The duo just didn’t know one another too well.

“We really didn’t talk a lot until last year because we both were just too awkward,” Ante said of their much younger days.

Ante and Carr caddied for competitors in the 60th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur played last summer at Anchorage Golf Course on the city’s hillside. They were paired together during the first United States Golf Association national championship staged in Alaska. As they conversed more and more, the two talents realized how much they could relate to each other.

“Abby has always been successful, so it was cool to get to know her better,” said Carr, the reigning Anchorage Open champion.

Now, days away from high school graduation, Ante from South High and Carr from West, the 18-year-olds will remain forever linked because of an unprecedented future honed mostly out on the links. After spending most of their childhoods growing their games around family and adults sometimes three times the age, Ante and Carr are homegrown kids about to embark on college careers.

The 2020 Alaska Amateur match-play and 2021 Anchorage Open champion, Ante recently committed to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a powerhouse NCAA Division II women’s program that just earned its 13th consecutive national tournament bid. Carr will be a little closer to home after committing to Willamette University in Salem, Ore. The DIII Bearcats just captured their fourth straight Northwest Conference championship.

“It’s all pretty huge, honestly,” Ante said. “No offense, but you hear golf and think old men. We’re able to show young people can play this sport.”

Carr relishes the rarity of the moment.

“No one understands,” he said. “Willamette posted my commitment and at least 20 people at school reposted or said something to me. Nobody plays golf.”


Erik Thompson turns 40 this month. He shares commonality with both Ante and Carr. He played two seasons at Irvine (Calif.) Valley College a few after graduating from East High in 2001.

“But Abby and Jack are so much better now than I was at that age,” said Thompson, a perennial favorite at city and state championship events. “No matter what anyone tells you, it’s unheard of to have two kids recruited from Alaska without access to all the necessities.”

Thompson loved golf in high school, but he also played baseball. He was named to the 2000 state all-tournament team as a member of the Thunderbirds.

“The late 90s were way different, right when Tiger Woods was starting out so golf wasn’t cool yet,” he said.

Thompson once told late, great legendary East coach Tony Wylie he’d likely choose a golf tournament over a baseball game if a conflict arose.

“Tony called me an idiot,” he said.

But Thompson caught that same golfing bug as Ante and Carr. So did 2009 Alaska Am winner Margaux Sheehan and 2006 Service grad Brittany Bomar. According to research, Sheehan golfed at Sacramento State and Bomar played at both Northern Iowa and Hawaii.

As we’ve witnessed in other sports like basketball and hockey, students regularly head Outside before or during high school looking for better opportunities at the next level. Case in point, golfer Ian Bruchhauser.

He moved to Temecula, Calif., shortly after representing Anchorage and Alaska at the 2019 Drive, Chip and Putt nationals at Georgia’s famed Augusta National. Bruchhauser recently helped DI Northern Illinois win the Mid-American Conference title as a freshman.

Those names likely conclude the short list of golfers with Alaska connective tissue to get a chance at the collegiate level. And that’s all Ante and Carr wanted.

“Some people told me I’d never get a chance to play college golf,” Ante said. “But I’m happy to have gained more confidence and a support system.

“The idea of playing and practicing every day with women my own age, I’m so excited.”


Like any kid making that next move to college life, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s next. Carr spent the majority of his Anchorage time golfing in a family foursome with dad Nate, younger brother Henry and grandfather Greg Beltz.

When he and Ante started getting more competitive, they were out on their own. Golf is known mostly as an individual sport. We don’t have sanctioned high school golf here. But in high school and college, golf matches or events are usually played as five-person teams.

“I’m so excited for that,” Carr said.

Thompson said team golf brings a completely different mindset to almost every shot. It welcomes a different kind of pressure.

“Individually, you’re struggling in a round and figure there’s always the next day,” he said. “But now you’re fighting for other (teammates). Team golf is just different in a good way. It keeps you sharper.”

Abigail Ante lines up a putt in 2022. Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

Having teammates to lean on should also be a plus.

“Don’t be stubborn,” Thompson said. “Take in all your surroundings and always look to get better. If you see someone who is a super-good bunker player, make sure to ask how they get it done.”

Courses around Southcentral are slowly coming out of their long winter’s hibernation. Historically, the season here runs strongest from about Memorial Day to Labor Day. Golfers should expect to see the friendly faces of both Ante and Carr through the middle of August.

“We hope we can be role models for other kids,” Ante said. “This is definitely an opportunity I wanted.”

No matter what happens, these two soon-to-be college freshmen will have an entire golfing community supporting their every swing.

“Abby and Jack, their ceiling is so much higher than it ever was for me,” Thompson said eagerly. “I wouldn’t want to limit them, check off a single goal like that’s it. Best of luck to them both.”

School Boosters:
Zareena and Allen Clendaniel, Rick Mystrom, Mark Silverman, Burgerfi, Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing, Midas Alaska, BOSCO's, Replacement Glass, Sarah & A.J. Schirack,Harlow Robinson, Team Heat, Todd Whited, Mark and Jamie Johnson, Firetap, Coho Financial Group, R&M Consultants, Inc., Invisalign-Ben Ward, Advanced Diagnostics, INC, Jason & Shannon Metrokin