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Meet the six amateurs set to compete at The Masters
06 Apr 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club

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Amateurs have always held a special place in the history of The Masters, in part because one of the founders of Augusta National Golf Club, the immortal Bobby Jones, is regarded as the greatest amateur of all time.

The amateurs who qualify for The Masters stay in the clubhouse during the week, attend the opening dinner and play the first two rounds with former champions.

While no amateur has won The Masters, Frank Stranahan tied for second in 1947, two shots behind Jimmy Demaret and Ken Venturi held a four-shot lead going into the final round only to finish second, one stroke behind champion Jackie Burke, Jr.. Augusta member Charlie Coe played in The Masters 19 times as an amateur and finished in the top 25 on nine occasions, including 1961, when he tied for second.

Ryan Moore, winner of the NCAA Championship, the US Amateur, US Public Links and Western Amateur in 2004, was the last amateur to finish in the top 20 at Augusta, tying for 13th in 2005.

After the pandemic limited the number of amateurs in last year's field to just three, the list of participants has doubled this year. Austin Greaser, Stewart Hagestad, Aaron Jarvis, Keita Nakajima, James Piot and Laird Shepherd will all be aiming to win the prestigious Silver Cup, awarded each year to the low amateur in the field.

Hailing from the United States, England, Japan and for the first time ever, the Cayman Islands, all amateurs took their own distinctive paths to Augusta National.

Here's a look at the six amateurs who will be competing for this year's Silver Cup:

Austin Greaser; Vandalia, Ohio
A junior at North Carolina, Greaser is making his first Masters appearance by virtue of his runner-up finish at last year's U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakmont Country Club, where he lost 2 and 1 to James Piot. One of 15 players named to the Haskins Award Fall Watch List, Greaser has a pair of top 10 finishes this season, including a second-place showing at the Turning Stone Tiger Invitational.

Stewart Hagestad; New York City
Hagestad returns to The Masters for a second time as the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, a title he first won in 2016. He earned low amateur honors in 2017 when he earned the distinction of being the first U.S. Mid-Am qualifier ever to make the cut.

Aaron Jarvis; George Town, Cayman Islands
With his one-stroke victory in the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC), the UNLV freshman became the first player from the Cayman Islands to claim the LAAC title and as a result, becomes the first competitor from his home country to compete in the Masters.

Keita Nakajima; Japan
Ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), Nakajima earned his first Masters invitation by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He also secured a win at the Panasonic Open, a professional tournament on the Japan Golf Tour and finished tied for 29th at the Zozo Championship in October, which was won by his fellow countryman Hideki Matsuyama, the defending Masters champion.

James Piot; Canton, Mich.
The Michigan State senior makes his first Masters appearance after winning the 2021 U.S. Amateur over Austin Greaser at Oakmont Country Club. He trailed Greaser by three after 27 holes in the championship match, but won four straight and five out of six to go ahead for good. Piot also won the 100th Golf Association of Michigan Championship at Franklin Hills Country Club in early August for his second career GAM title and advanced to the sweet 16 of the Western Amateur.

Laird Shepherd; England
Shepherd pulled off one of the craziest comebacks in British Amateur history, winning the title after being four down with four to play in the 36-hole match-play final at Nairn Golf Club in Scotland. The 24-year-old Englishman, who lives in St. Andrews, won the final four holes to force a playoff before prevailing on the second extra hole. His twin brother, Callum, has 372 wins as a Flat jockey.

ABOUT THE The Masters

One of Golf's four professional majors traditionally invites amateurs who have reached the finals of the US Amateur, or won the British Amateur or the US Mid Amateur. Also included are the winners of the relatively new Asia Pacific Amateur and Latin American Amateur.

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