Takumi Kanaya (AAC photo)
Technically, only four amateurs made the Masters cut on Friday evening. Still, five teed it up Saturday at Augusta National. The first one off the tee made arguably the most headlines.
That would be Augusta National member Jeff Knox
, the man (the myth, the legend) who has teed it up beside some of the world’s best over the past several years when an odd number of men make the Masters cut. Knox has the coveted job of being the Masters marker.
On Saturday, Knox, a 56-year-old who lives down the road from Augusta National, drew a third-round tee time beside Eddie Pepperell, a fun-loving Brit who reportedly relished the time with the local legend.
According to a Golf Digest report
, Knox shot a 74 beside Pepperell on Saturday morning. Pepperrell had 72. Knox’s playing partner doesn’t always beat him, however. In recent years, Knox has scored lower than Rory McIlroy, among others.
“He had a really nice swing,” Pepperell told Golf Digest. “The course is probably a little too long for him at this point, but man, he’s a good player. His short game is brilliant, and he was nice. It was very good to play with him.”
You won’t find Knox’s name on the board, but the four other amateurs made a great case for amateur golf in general – perhaps none more so than Takumi Kanaya.
Kanaya, the Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, started the week with two opening birdies. On Saturday, he had six birdies on his way to a 4-under 68.
“I wanted to be aggressive today, a little bit different from yesterday, and I was aggressive and able to get those birdies,” said Kanaya, who will enter the final round T-39 at 1 under.
Kanaya will have to outplay Viktor Hovland, the U.S. Amateur champion, to earn low-amateur honors at Augusta National. Hovland, the Oklahoma State junior, is 2 under after 54 holes. He has had rounds of 72-71-71 so far this week.
“Obviously winning the green jacket is the ideal, but it's not very likely playing as an amateur and the first time in the Masters,” Hovland said. “So, you know, achieving the silver medal is something that's a little bit more I guess likely, you can say, if I play really well. So that would mean a lot.”
After a third-round 73, Alvaro Ortiz is T-47 at 1 over, and UCLA's Devon Bling is a shot behind him after a Saturday 71.
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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