Corey Conners cards 69 on Friday to finish tops among amateurs at The Masters
10 Apr 2015
by Conner Penfold of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for The Masters, Augusta National Golf Club, Corey Conners Rankings

(Golf Canada image)
(Golf Canada image)

Corey Conners, Canada @coreconn
Reason for Invitation: 2014 U.S. Amateur runner-up
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 2
Thursday/Friday Scores: 80-69
Current Position: T73

After shooting 80 in his first Masters round, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world birdied three of his last six to shoot 69, and finish with the lowest amateur score in the field.

The former Kent State golfer got off to an incredible start, making birdies on his first and second holes. He then birdied five to go three-under on the front before finishing the nine with a bogey. The difficult par-four 11th hole surrendered a double- bogey from Conners, but he rebounded successfully with birdies at 13, 15, and 16 to break 70 by a stroke.

Conners' first round at Augusta didn't go quite like he, and many others, thought it would go. The popular pick for low amateur, by virtue of his current No. 2 rank in AmateurGolf.com's World Rankings. Conners didn't make his first birdie until 18, but didn't record a bogey until five. Between the two holes, the Canadian went eight-over to post 80 on Thursday, making his quest to make the cut quite difficult, though he did beat his fellow countryman Mike Weir by two.

BIO: Conners sat atop the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings for a large portion of 2014 and into 2015 thanks to a flurry of impressive performances to go alongside his U.S. Amateur runner-up finish at Atlanta Athletic Club. In 2014, the Ontario, Canada native won the Jones Cup, was medalist at the Argentine Amateur, and finished second at the Ontario Amateur and North & South Amateur. Then he kicked off the new year with a win down under at the Lake Macquire Amateur. Having graduated from Kent State University last spring, Conners will surely turn professional following his Masters appearance.

Byron Meth, San Diego, Calif. @ByronMethGolf
Reason for Invitation: 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 37
Thursday/Friday Scores: 74-76
Current Position: T78

The low amateur after day one at Augusta National was the only amateur to ever be in red numbers on Thursday. After rolling in birdies on 6 and 8, Meth sat at one-under, though he did bogey the par-four ninth to shoot 36 on the front. A disappointing double-bogey on Amen Corner's finishing hole pushed him to two- over, where he eventually finished after a closing birdie on 18. His second-round 76 pushed him just far enough back to lose out in the low- amateur race by one to the streaking Conners.

BIO: Meth is a senior at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. and will forever be remembered as the final player to ever win the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship. The event, as most know by now, has been replaced by the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball beginning next month at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The San Diego native defeated Texas freshman Doug Ghim on the first playoff hole at Sand Creek Station to capture his first USGA title. Meth, having been consumed by college events with his Tigers this spring, has just one non-collegiate tournament under his belt thus far — a T35 at the Jones Cup.

Antonio Murdaca, Australia @AntonioMurdaca1
Reason for Invitation: 2014 Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 24
Thursday/Friday Scores: 78-73
Current Position: T81

Murdaca's opening round was plagued with double-bogeys — four of them to be exact. He actually didn't record a regular bogey all day, using two birdies throughout the day to shoot 78 on Thursday. The Aussie, who was paired with childhood hero Adam Scott, began and ended his day with a double-bogey, but turned it around for a respectable 73 on Friday to finish third best among the amateurs.

BIO: Murdaca punched his ticket to The Masters with a seven-stroke win at Royal Melbourne last October. He picked up another seven-shot win earlier this year at the South Australia Amateur Classic, and has enjoyed a half dozen professional exemptions in preparation for this week's major, though Murdaca didn't reach the weekend at any of the events. The 19-year-old became the youngest Australian Boys champion in 2010 when he captured the title at just 14.

Matias Dominguez, Chile @Afidominguez
Reason for Invitation: 2015 Latin America Amateur champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 96
Thursday/Friday Scores: 76-76
Current Position: T87

Dominguez made a splash on Wednesday at the Par-3 Contest, making an ace with his girlfriend on the bag. And on Thursday and Friday, paired with fellow South American Angel Cabrera, Dominguez grinded through a birdie-less round of 76, consisting of two 38s with only four bogeys to his name. He shot 76 again on Friday, but carded two birdies and an impressive eagle on 13.

BIO: The Texas Tech senior prepped for Augusta with an impressive showing at the Web.com Tour's Chile Classic, where he made the cut and finished T30. His Masters exemption was possible because of the newly formed Latin America Amateur Championship, which kicked off its inaugural event in January at Pilar Golf Club in Argentina. Run by the R&A and USGA, the event's winner was granted an invite to Augusta National, bringing the amateur total to seven.

Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C. @ScottHarvey78
Reason for Invitation: 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 4
Thursday/Friday Scores: 76-81
Current Position: T92

Harvey had probably the largest following of any amateur, hailing from North Carolina. He hung tough on the back nine, including going one-under on Amen Corner thanks to a birdie on 13, to post 76 on Thursday. But he struggled to an 81 on day two and finished in a tie for 92nd with fellow amateur Bradley Neil.

BIO: The 36-year-old Harvey has two amateur victories already in 2015, winning the South American Amateur in Lima, Peru in January, as well as the rain-shortened Gasparilla Invitational the next month. At Saucon Valley in September, Harvey earned co-medalist honors at the U.S. Mid-Amateur alongside eventual final-match competitor Brad Nurski, who he defeated 6-and-5.

Bradley Neil, Scotland @BradleyNeil1
Reason for Invitation: 2014 British Amateur champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 6
Thursday/Friday Scores: 78-79
Current Position: T92

Neil's first round was basically opposite than that of Matias Dominguez, who made 14 pars and four bogeys. The Scotsman made just four pars, marking his card with a scattering of birdies and bogeys. He played the par-fives spectacularly, making birdie on all except hole 2, but struggled on par-fours. His bogey on 18 was his eighth of the day on par- fours. Neil followed it up with 79 on Friday.

BIO: Like Yang, Neil's amateur activity has been quiet in the 2015 calendar year, having played just one event since Jan. 1. The 19-year-old struggled to a T50 finish at the Jones Cup, and has played in two professional events, both in South Africa. Neil's 2-and-1 victory over Zander Lombard at Royal Portrush granted him a Masters invite and he'll be one of just three Scotsmen in the field, along with Stephen Gallacher and former Masters winner Sandy Lyle.

Gunn Yang, Korea @Gunn_Yang
Reason for Invitation: 2014 U.S. Amateur champion
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rank: 40
Thursday/Friday Scores: 85-74
Current Position: 95

Yang beat only one player on Thursday — Ben Crenshaw. The SDSU golfer was even through the first three holes but had a difficult time making any more pars after that, recording just four the rest of the day. Yang had a bit of a redemption round on Friday, shooting 74.

BIO: Yang, who would have been a redshirt sophomore at San Diego State this year, has played in just one amateur tournament in 2015 — the New Year's Invitational — where he tied for third just three shots back of winner Sam Horsfield. Yang's choice to take a lease from SDSU this season stemmed from his many exemptions into professional tournaments, aside from just The Masters. Yang played in both the Farmers Insurance Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational, missing the cut both occasions.

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