BANDON — Wil Lozano lived the caddie’s dream at Bandon Dunes during the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur.
The caddie, one of more than 150 from the resort who worked the tournament, was on the bag for champion Wenyi Ding of the People’s Republic of China.
“I was just lucky enough to get matched up with the guy,” Lozano said.
The resort has some 500 loopers, and the ones who signed up to participate in the tournament were randomly paired with the golfers. Lozano had never met Ding until the eve of the tournament.
“I knew right away he was special,” Lozano said.
The Bandon caddie got a front-row seat to precision shot-making throughout the event by Ding, who qualified for the match play portion of the tournament and then won six matches in four days to take the title.
“To be part of it as a caddie, it was special,” Lozano said. “I’m so humbled to have been a part of the experience, and I was happy to help someone do something that they wanted to do and help someone live their dreams. As a caddie, that’s all I can hope for, to be a part of something great and hope they have a good time while they’re out there and help them do it.”
Ding said having Lozano on his bag was vital to his success during the week.
“He’s great,” Ding said.
Lozano was particularly helpful in handling the windy conditions, which the golfers faced several different days.
“He helped me a lot,” Ding said, specifically mentioning how many yards to add or take away from distances on shots depending on the speed and direction of the wind.
When Ding saw an eight-hole lead with eight holes to go in the final start to dwindle, Lozano helped settle him down.
“My caddie told me, just calm down,” he said. “You have the advantage. He is nervous and he’s more nervous than you, so you are going to win.”
Lozano said Ding was ready for the challenges the links-style golf at the resort requires.
“I’d say his consistency and distance control were impeccable,” he said. “Anybody that comes out here to the Dunes, they’re going to be tested, they’re going to be challenged, but he was up for the challenge. Any time we got into a messy situation, a tough situation, he was able to match it with a good shot.”
Lozano, who has been looping at Bandon Dunes since 2019, said any of the resort caddies could have had success with Ding, but he was glad he got the chance.
He had hoped the resort caddies would shine after the 2020 U.S. Amateur, which was the only time so far in eight USGA championships at Bandon Dunes that a resort caddie hasn’t been part of the winning effort.
“I wanted to restore the faith in the caddies here,” Lozano said. “It’s somewhat of a redemption for us. Hopefully it helps out the community of caddies.”
Lozano even got a shout-out from Bandon Dunes General Manager Don Crowe in his remarks during the trophy presentation.
“Wil, wow — way to go,” Crowe said.
Two other Bandon Dunes caddies also advanced to the quarterfinals. Peyton Simonds, the son of Assistant General Manager Jeff Simonds, was on the bag for Eric Lee, who lost to Ding in the semifinals. Carl Everts caddied for Luke Clanton, who fell to defending champion Nick Dunlap in the quarterfinals.