AUGUSTA, GA (April 4, 2016)--Every first week in April
the Masters Tournament opens the gates of Magnolia
Lane to the best golfers in the world as they compete
in the seasons first major. Most of the names in the
field are household names--Jordan Spieth, Phil
Mickelson, for the final time Tom Watson, Jason Day
and Adam Scott--the list goes on and on.
However, the tournament also welcomes a group of
amateur players each year, players that right now are
lesser known names, but players that in many cases
become the household names of the future. This year
there are six amateurs from around the world
competing in the Masters, here is a look at them and
how they qualified.
U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPION AND RUNNER-UP
The former SMU standout is one of the more
fascinating amateurs in recent years, known for his Ben
Hogan style hats and clubs all of the same length. Last
year DeChambeau became just the fifth player to win
Individual Championship and U.S. Amateur
Championship in the same calendar year.
DeChambeau's 7-and-6 win over Virginia's Derek Bard
is what earned this future pro his ticket to the
In recent months DeChambeau has made numerous
trips to Augusta National as part of his preparation. An
invitee is allowed to play on five days prior to the
tournament with a walking guest.
“I’m looking forward to getting more comfortable with
the golf course, and the greens are the biggest factor
in that golf course, I believe, and how you approach it
from the second shot,” DeChambeau told Golf Channel
last month. “But the greens are very tricky. You’ve got
to understand a lot of optical illusions and what you
can and can’t do on the golf course.”
DeChambeau will turn pro next week at the RBC
Heritage where he has accepted a sponsor exemption.
In recent months he has played various PGA Tour
events. Most recently DeChambeau played in the
Arnold Palmer Invitational firing a final round 6-under-
par 66 to finish T27. He was paired with Rory McIlroy in
the final round so DeChambeau is not intimidated by
playing with the best in the world.
As the U.S. Amateur champion DeChambeau will be the
third member of one of the featured groups in the first
two rounds. DeChambeau will be part of a threesome
that will include the defending Masters champion
Jordan Spieth. It is tradition at the Masters for the U.S.
Amateur champion to be paired with the Masters
winner from the year before.
A junior at Virginia, Bard will be playing in his first
professional event at the Masters. Bard, named to the
2016 Ben Hogan Watch List tied for first at the U.S.
Collegiate in October, his best finish of the season.
BRITISH AMATEUR CHAMPION
10th ranked amateur in the world, Langasque will
appear at the 2016 Masters thanks to a 4-and-2 win
over Scotland’s Grant Forrest. Langasque became just
the third Frenchman to win the British Amateur and the
first since Julien Guerrier in 2006.
The win also allowed Langasque to play in last year’s
British Open at St. Andrew’s. Langasque made the cut
and finished T65 at 2-under par. On paper it would
appear that Langasque and DeChambeau will be the
two battling for low amateur honors.
ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR CHAMPION
Rain shortened the Asia-Pacific Championship to just
54-holes last October but the reward was still the same
for Cheng Jin. The native of China won by single
strokes over Australians Cameron Davis and Ryan
Ruffels. In the opening round Cheng fired a tournament
record 62 to take the lead.
Cheng Jin has competed in 15 professional events
around the world since the start of 2015. He finished
T35 at the Qatar Masters in January.
LATIN AMERICAN AMATEUR CHAMPION
At the time of his victory Chaplet of Costa Rico, was
the 832nd ranked amateur in the world. A year prior
at the Latin American Amateur Chaplet finished a
distant T36 but behind a closing day 2-under 70 he was
able to claim a one-stroke triumph.
Following the round Chaplet told reporters, “I wasn’t
expecting to win. I was expecting to shoot under par,
which is my main goal, so that was accomplished. And
with that came the win, so I can’t really ask for much
Chaplet, 16-years-old, is eyeing his Masters week as an
opportunity to earn a college scholarship.
U.S. MID-AMATEUR CHAMPION
Talk about improbable, Schmitz is the 2,399th ranked
amateur in the world and he made it into the field. How
you might ask? With a walk-off ace on a par 4 to win
the championship match 3-and-2.
“It felt like forever,” Schmintz from Minnesota said in
the post round press conference. “We hit it, we knew it
was good, we saw it kind of--I think I handed the club
to my caddie John. I think I had taken my glove off at
that point, and just a couple steps forward, and we
heard everybody screaming. You can kind of tell a
scream for when it’s close and when it goes in. We
knew it went in. Everybody erupted, and it was a really
Schmitz qualified for the Masters in a fashion no one
else in the field can claim stake too. This will be
Schmitz’s first career professional event.
-CBS Sports, Golf Channel, USA Today and USGA
contributed to this story