AUGUSTA, Ga. (April 8, 2008)--The trio of amateur players will have to wait until next year for their shot at weekend play at The Masters, as all three contestants missed the cut Friday. Trip Kuehne (profile) was the low-amateur at 6-over-par 150, including an even-par final round, but it was Michael Thompson who likely be the most talked-about non-professional throughout the tourney.
Thompson, a senior at the University of Alabama and runner-up at last year's U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club (info, video coverage) seemed heading toward making the cut in his first Masters after carding a 1-over-par round on Thursday then opening up with two straight birdies to start Day 2. He would slip a bit, though, to 4-under when he faced a makeable birdie putt on 15. Grounding his club while standing over his putt, the ball moved ever so slightly, even the ESPN cameras missed it, but Thompson still called a penalty on himself, earning kudos from the announcers, who would go on to discuss the event, the role of self-imposed penalties in the game speak highly of Thompson over the next three holes.
But, to quote the greatest amateur of all-time, Bobby Jones regarding praising a golfer for calling a penalty on himself: "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank."
British Amateur (info, results) champ Drew Weaver, who was the emotional favorite after he survived the tragedy last year at Virginia Tech, finished at 154, but was able to look back at a stressful, but rewarding week.
"It’s hard to believe that after all the work and focus and thought I put in this week, it’s finally over," he wrote on his Masters.org blog. "It wasn’t a good day (80-154), but that’s the way it is sometimes. It just didn’t work out today; I didn’t hit many good shots, and when I did, I didn’t make the putts.
"I got off to a rough start (bogeys on one and two) and just didn’t have it today. Finishing up the second nine, I was just totally spent, wasted, done. I put so much into this week, I thought I was ready. It really comes down to experience, on the greens, and on the course.
Another thing I learned is that a major championship like this is totally draining, mentally and physically. I was just spent out there.
That’s why it was so good to have so many of my family and friends here. To have an experience like this, and to be able to share it with everyone, is really special."
Weaver said he'll stay over the weekend at the Crow's Nest, supporting fellow Hokie Johnson Wagner, who sits at 2-over.
Kuehne, the U.S. Mid-Amateur (info, results) champion, was, like Thompson, tantalizingly close to making the cut. After carding an opening-day 78, he eagled the 13th hole to drop to 4-under, the cut line at the time. Those hopes were dashed two holes later, when he doubled the par-3 16th and finished up at even for the day, 6-over for the tournament. It was an improvement from his 1995 appearance, where Kuehne went 79-76--155.
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.