AUGUSTA, Ga. (April 8, 2008)--A trio of amateur players will likely be tossing and turning with a severe case of butterflies Wednesday night as they await their tee times in arguably the most prestigious and historic golf tournament on the planet, The Masters.
The number of amateur contestants usually numbers five, but this year the winner of both the U.S. Amateur and Public Links titles, Colt Knost, elected to turn pro after graduating from Southern Methodist University, thus losing his guaranteed spot.
Dallas' Trip Kuehne (profile) may be the best equipped to handle the pressure of such a huge spotlight, after all this won't be his first Masters appearance. Kuehne, who earned his spot this year with a victory in the U.S. Mid-Amateur (info, results), first made the trip to Augusta in 1995 after he was the runner-up to Tiger Woods in a memorable battle at the U.S. Amateur. Last year's Mid-Am win was the first USGA title for the three-time Walker Cupper.
"It’s been a long journey; one that started 13 years ago,” said Kuehne in reference to his runner-up finish to Woods at the '94 Amateur. “I got the job done this time. It doesn't get any better than this. It truly is a dream come true. I thought this day would never come.”
This year's U.S. Amateur (info, video coverage) runner-up is Michael Thompson, who was second to Knost in a closely contested match at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
"That's my dream come true," said Thompson of playing in the Masters. "I don't want to get ahead of myself or get too excited, but come that time, I'm going to practice real hard and try to do as best as I can and really enjoy it."
Drew Weaver will be the final amateur with a spot in the field, courtesy of the Virginia Tech senior's emotional win at the British Amateur (info, results). He held off a late charge from Australia's Tim Stewart to become the first American to win that historic tourney since Jay Sigel in 1979.
Check back with amateurgolf.com regularly, as we provide updates on the status of these three golfers.