The 2015 Masters: A look back at historic Amateur performances
04 Apr 2015
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club

Matt Kuchar in 1998<br>(Golfweek photo)
Matt Kuchar in 1998
(Golfweek photo)

Of all the intriguing storylines each year at The Masters, the performance of the amateurs in the field is among the hottest topics (certainly from our perspective).

With a chance to gaze into the eyes of golf's likely future and to, perhaps, connect us everyday golfers to the magic of driving up Magnolia Lane (as a contestant) we watch intently each and every year as the juniors, collegiate stars, and even mid-amateurs get a chance to compete in a major at Augusta National.

It's the stuff of dreams for scratch mid-amateur golfers like 36-year-old Scott Harvey, of Greensboro, North Carolina, who will be in the 2015 field by virtue of his 2014 U.S. Mid Amateur win. If you qualified to play Saucon Valley in 2014, there were about 250 players between you and a Masters invitation like the one received by Harvey.

"It's unbelievable, walking this golf course," Harvey told Golfweek. "It's the most perfect piece of property ever. I still can't believe it's all happening."

Last year, the only amateur to survive the cut was 2014 U.S. Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss of Australia. Goss posted disappointing rounds of 75-76 over the weekend, but he was there, walking Amen Corner on Masters Sunday. And he claimed the Silver Cup for low amateur. Here is a look back at some of the more memorable amateur performances at The Masters:

2013: Guan Tianlang makes cut at 14- years old

In 2013, the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur winner captivated viewers with his steady -- albeit sometimes slow -- play. The deliberate Tianlang navigated Augusta's length with a steady dose of fairway woods and hybrids and showed an amazing short game to make the cut and finish as the low amateur.

2005: Ryan Moore has arrived

It wasn't quite with the fanfare Tiger Woods had, but Moore arrived at The Masters after what is still considered to be perhaps the greatest season of competitive amateur golf in history. Moore, then a golfer at UNLV, went to Augusta after winning the NCAA Championship, U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur, U.S. Public Links and the World Amateur Team individual title. How did he follow it up? With a T-13 and Silver Cup at The Masters.

1999: Garcia wins Silver Cup for Spain

The same year countryman Jose Maria Olazabal won the Green Jacket for the second time, Masters rookie Sergio Garcia, who later that year turned professional, won low amateur honors.

1998: Matt Kuchar smiles his way to a Top 20

Among the contenders this year, Kuchar shot 72-76-68-72 to finish tied for 21st and earn a return invitation in 1999. He went on to finish in the Top-15 at the U.S. Open.

1961: Nicklaus wows in final Masters as amateur

Jack is king at Augusta — and in majors, in general. But before his six Masters titles, Nicklaus tied for seventh at Augusta less than a year he took second at the U.S. Open. He ultimately won the first of his six Green Jackets two years later.

1960, 1961: Charlie Coe competes

Coe, a lifelong amateur considered by Jack Nicklaus as one of the world's finest golfers, finished tied for second alongside Arnold Palmer in 1961. In 1960, Coe was second in the race for the low amateur. Nicklaus took the honor, though, setting the stage for future Masters lore.

1956: Ken Venturi nearly wins it

Before his memorable professional career, Venturi held the 54-hole lead at The Masters. In the end, he couldn't pull it off, losing by a shot to Jack Burke, Jr. He did, however, defeat Sam Snead and Ben Hogan.

1934: Charlie Yates the original low am

Local knowledge at Augusta National, of course, is everything. And in the first ever event, Augusta National member Charlie Yates finished as the low amateur. He would go on to play in 10 more Masters. The same year, Bobby Jones tied for 13th.

- Ben Larsen of AmateurGolf.com contributed to this story

ABOUT THE The Masters

One of Golf's four professional majors traditionally invites amateurs who have reached the finals of the US Amateur, or won the British Amateur or the US Mid Amateur. Also included are the winners of the relatively new Asia Pacific Amateur and Latin American Amateur.

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