Nelson is home for Matt Kuchar's caddie


IRVING, Texas -- The gallery following Matt Kuchar was a pretty large one Friday. That's not a shock, considering he won The Players Championship last week. But he knows part of that cheering fan base is thanks to caddie Lance Bennett, who lives in Wylie, Texas.

"I had a lot of ticket requests this week and most of them came from my caddie," Kuchar joked after shooting 68 to finish at 6-under through two rounds of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. "I was able to help him out. The guys here have been fantastic. It's fun. This tournament draws great crowds. It's an exciting event, and it's exciting to see so many people turn out and support this event."

Bennett, 40, is thrilled to be back at home for a few weeks and doing it with his player on a hot streak. Kuchar is right back in contention again this week and Bennett's family and friends will be cheering both of them on.

"It's a lot of fun for me," Bennett said. "I didn't grow up here, but I went to college at North Texas and have been here ever since. I've been to this tournament for 20 years, and to potentially have a chance this weekend is fun."

That was 1990. Bennett played soccer in college and didn't really pick up golf until his college career was nearly over. Once he did, he was hooked and was a golf club professional for eight years. He worked at Gleneagles Country Club (Plano), Canyon Creek (Richardson) and Timarron Country Club (Southlake) before deciding he wanted to try something different.

"I'm friends with Brad Elder and he was looking for a caddie before the 2003 season and knew I was a little burned out," Bennett said. "I liked teaching, but not much else, so I figured I'd give it a try. I never looked back."

Elder was coming off an injury and didn't play well in 2003 on a medical exemption, so after that season Bennett went to the LPGA. He caddied for Vicki Goetze in 2004, Paula Creamer during her rookie year in 2005 and Lorena Ochoa for part of 2006. So Bennett was working with some of the top golfers on the Tour.

When his caddie job ended with Ochoa in 2006, he hooked up with Kuchar about a month later and has been with Kuchar for nearly six years now.

"I love it out here," Bennett said. "I like the travel. The only thing I would rather go back to would be if I could strictly teach when I'm done doing this."