The Masters leaderboard (Augusta National image)
There were plenty of heroics in the opening round of the Masters (hello, Bryson DeChambeau with four closing birdies), but none to speak of came from the six amateurs in the field. It’s possible Takumi Kanaya created the most excitement among the amateur contingent by opening with back-to-back birdies.
Still, Kanaya finished the day with a 1-over 73.
Here are some thoughts from each player’s Augusta National debut:
Viktor Hovland, U.S. Amateur champion
Three crucial birdies on the back – at Nos. 13, 15 and 16 – pushed him to a back-nine 35
“I played three PGA Tour tournaments. I hadn't done all that great in them. But I felt that really helped me to kind of prepare for this event. Obviously you're used to watching them on TV all the time. And Patrick has won here last year and Webb is an awesome player. And, yeah, it is a little strange, because I'm used to playing with the guys on the team and amateur golfers I know really well. But, it feels really cool.”
Takumi Kanaya, Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
Opening birdie came off a putt of 24 feet.
“It was like a dream come true to start birdie, birdie and see your name on the board. It was pretty neat.”
Alvaro Ortiz, Latin America Amateur champion
: His two birdies of the day came at Nos. 8 and 17, and there were no big numbers on his card
“Just to have the chance to come out here and compete against the best and being toe‑by‑toe by the names like Tiger Woods or Bernhard Langer, I played with him, and it's just special to me and to my family and I was just so honored that I had the opportunity to do it.”
Jovan Rebula, British Amateur champion
Made two birdies at Amen Corner, on Nos. 12 and 13
“I feel like my game was very solid today, much more solid than I thought it was going to be. I hit a lot of good shots out there today, which I executed well, the way we planned it. So I had a good game plan and we stuck to it today and it was pretty good and very fun.”
Devin Bling, U.S. Amateur Runner-up
Birdied No. 9, after sticking a 9-iron to 4 feet, to make the turn at even par. Would have finished even but for a double-bogey at No. 18
“I fought hard all day. I hit it well. My speed on the greens wasn't great. But I hit a lot of good putts, just not used to four footers breaking a cup and a half. Not much I could do, but I fought hard all day.”
Kevin O’Connell, U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
After a double bogey at No. 11, O’Connell birdied Nos. 13, 15 and 16 off of putts that were all inside 15 feet.
“A lot of the guys that I've played some practice rounds with told me that you'll feel like you have the course kind of figured out in terms of the conditions and the pace and everything. And then you show up on Thursday and it will be a lot faster and a little firmer than you thought it might be. And they were right. The greens, especially on the second nine, as we got later in the day, got a lot faster. But in terms of the playing in front of all the patrons and everything, after the first tee shot, that was really the only time you're really thinking about it to be honest.”
ABOUT THE The Masters
One of Golf's four professional majors
traditionally invites amateurs who have reached
finals of the US Amateur, or won the British
the US Mid Amateur. Also included are
the winners of the relatively new Asia Pacific
and Latin American Amateur.
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