The Masters, the long anticipated first Major of the golf season, tees off April 11 at Augusta National. Tiger Woods has already been declared the favorite and rightfully so.
Contenders like Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and defending champion Bubba Watson are all ready to take aim at the Green Jacket while six amateur invitees hope to make names for themselves while only adding to their impressive resumes.
Here’s a look at the six amateurs in The Masters field:
Alan Dunbar, Northern Ireland: Dunbar gained a Masters exemption with a win at last year’s British Amateur. The 22-year-old Dunbar prevailed over a loaded field, defeating Matthias Schawb in the final at Royal Troon. Ranked No. 13 in the world according to the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Player Rankings, Dunbar was part of the winning 2011 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team. Also played in last year’s British Open and exempt into the 2013 U.S. Open.
Steven Fox, United States: Fox completed an historic run to win the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club. He was the 63rd seed in match play after surviving a 17-player playoff. He defeated No. 2 Jeff Osberg, 15 Zack Munroe, 10 Chris Williams and 6 Brandon Hagy en route to the final match where he bested Michael Weaver. Fox, a senior at Tennessee-Chattanooga, also represented the U.S. at the World Amateur Team and reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Public-Links Championship.
Tianlang Guan, China: Set to become the youngest participant in tournament history, the 14-year-old Guan qualified by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in November. He arrived in Augusta last month to prepare as he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Hideki Matsuyama, who has represented the Asia-Pacific Amateur well the last two years while making The Masters cut.
Nathan Smith, United States: This will be the third Masters start for four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh. Smith, a potential mid-am selection for the 2013 Walker Cup team, owns one of the more impressive amateur resumes in history. In his two starts, Smith has yet to make the cut but finished 18th at the Jones Cup and 12th at last year’s Azalea Invitational.
T.J. Vogel, United States: Vogel transferred from USC to Florida, where he’s a senior. A Top 100 golfer in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com rankings, Vogel is in The Masters field by way of an exemption from his victory at the 2012 U.S Pub-Links Championship. Vogel prevailed over a lengthy list of contenders at Soldier Hollow Golf Club and scored a record 12-and-10 victory over Kevin Aylwin.
Michael Weaver, United States: Weaver, member of the top-ranked Cal golf team, enters The Masters as the hottest amateur in the field. He gained an invite with his runner-up finish to Fox at the U.S. Amateur but has only added to his resume since. Weaver is ranked 20th in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com U.S. rankings and had a terrific summer, winning the Alameda Commuters, reaching the Round of 16 at the California Amateur and tying for 13th at The Players Amateur, among other top finishes. His success continued into the NCAA season as he was among 16 invited to the Walker Cup practice session and named to the Ben Hogan Award watch list.