NCAA champion Gordon Sargent accepts special invitation to play in the Masters
Gordon Sargent (Vanderbilt Athletics photo)
Gordon Sargent (Vanderbilt Athletics photo)

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced today that Kazuki Higa and Gordon Sargent have accepted invitations to compete in the 2023 Masters. Both players will be first-time Tournament participants.

“The Masters Tournament prioritizes opportunities to elevate both amateur and professional golf around the world,” Ridley said. “Thus, we have extended invitations to two deserving players not otherwise qualified. Whether on the international stage or at the elite amateur level, each player has showcased their talent in the past year. We look forward to hosting them at Augusta National in April.”

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Sargent is presently a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and the reigning NCAA Division I Men’s Individual Champion. The 19-year-old birdied the first hole of a four-way playoff last May to win, becoming the first freshman since 2007 to claim the individual title. A preseason first-team All-American, Sargent also won the stroke play individual championship at the East Lake Cup in October.

Sargent is ranked No. 6 in the world by Golfweek/ and becomes the first amateur to accept a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000.

Higa, a 27-year-old from Japan, has collected six career wins on the Japan Golf Tour, with four of those victories occurring in 2022. He finished first on the Japan Golf Tour’s Order of Merit last year, an achievement that 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama also earned in 2013. He currently ranks No. 68 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

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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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