3rd April 2017
Here is a selection of Amateur Facts & Figures for The Masters Tournament: –
Something of a negative start but no amateur has ever won The Masters.
On three occasions an amateur has fInished 2nd: –
Frank STRANAHAN (USA) – 1947. A final round 68 saw Stranahan come through the field ultimately finishing 2-shots behind champion Jimmy Demeret.
Ken VENTURI (USA) – 1956. A final round 80 in windy conditions saw Venturi lose a 4-shot lead and finish second by 1-shot to Jack Burke.
Charlie COE (USA) – 1961. Like Stranahan Coe finished fast with a 69 and a record amateur score of -7. He ended up tied for second with Arnold Palmer with neither able to catch a faltering Gary Player (74 / -8 total).
Billy Joe PATTON (USA) finished 3rd in 1954 but perhaps came closest to delivering an amateur Masters victory. A hole-in-one on the 6th in the final round put him nicely in the lead but a bogey on 12 and a double on 13, when he went for the green in two and found water, saw him slip out of a play-off with Sam Snead and Ben Hogan by 1-shot.
The last Top 10 finish by an amateur was Charlie COE’s T9 in 1962.
Also in 1962, for the only time, three amateurs finished in the Top 15 – Jack NICKLAUS (USA, T7) and Robert W. GARDNER (USA, T11) joining Coe.
In 1954 four Amateurs finished in the Top 20 – Billy Joe PATTON (USA, 3rd), Richard CHAPMAN (USA,11th), Ken VENTURI (USA) and Charlie COE (USA, T20)
Charlie COE (USA) holds most of the Amateur records at Augusta, including Most Low Amateur Honours (6 in 1949-51-59-61-62-70), Best Finish (T2), Top 10s (3), Most Cuts Made (8), Most Starts (19), Most Rounds Played (67) and Rounds At Par or Better (22).
In more recent times the best amateur finish has been Tied 13th – Casey WITTENBERG (USA, 2004) and Ryan MOORE (USA, 2005) achieving this. Before than Matt KUCHER (USA) smiled his way to tied 21st in 1998 and last year Bryson DECHAMBEAU (USA) achieved the same finish on +5.
The reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion was first invited to compete at The Masters in 1989. In 2017 Stewart HAGESTAD (USA) became the first recipient to make the cut. His opening rounds of 74 and 73 (+3) saw him comfortably qualify for the weekend in tied 19th position. Hagestad went on to secure low amateur honours finishing tied 36th on +6. Other mid-amateurs (over 25) had previously made the cut at The Masters – Jim HOLTGRIEVE and Jay SIGEL in 1982 and 1988 respectively – but neither were playing at that time on the official Mid-Amateur champion’s exemption.
Many former Amateur competitors have gone on to win The Masters as pros; these include Jack Nicklaus (6), Tom Watson (2), Tiger Woods (4), Jose Maria Olazabal (2), Phil Mickelson (3), Ben Crenshaw (2), and Mark O’Meara, Craig Stadler, Tommy Aaron, Charles Coody, and Trevor Immelman with one each.
Five low amateur Silver Cup winners have completed a memorable double by going on to win The Masters. These are Jack NICKLAUS, Ben CRENSHAW, Tiger WOODS, Phil MICKELSON and Sergio GARCIA.
Holes-In-One By Amateurs
Amateur Ross SOMERVILLE (USA) recorded the first hole-in-one at the Masters.
The full list:-
1934 – Ross SOMERVILLE (USA), 16th hole, 145 yards with a mashie niblick
1940 – Ray BILLOWS (USA), 16th hole, 145 yards with an 8-iron
1949 – John DAWSON (USA), 16th hole, 190 yards with a 4-iron
1954 – Billy Joe PATTON (USA), sixth hole, 190 yards with a 5-iron
1959 – William HYNDMAN (USA), 12th hole, 155 yards with a 5-iron
Amateur Scoring Records
Low 18 Holes score – 66 Ken VENTURI (1956, 32-34)
Low 36 Holes score – 135 Ken VENTURI (1956, 66-69)
Low 54 Holes – 210 Ken VENTURI (1956, 66-69-75)
Low 72 Holes score – 281 Charles COE (1961, 72-71-69-69)
The Highest Round-by-Round scores are here:-
High Rd 1 score – 90 Chick EVANS (1960)
High Rd 2 score – 89 Chick EVANS (1960)
High Rd 3 score – 88 James FRISINA (1952)
High Rd 4 score – 95 Charles KUNKLE JR (1956)
Charles KUNKLE JR’s 95 is the highest official 18-hole score ever recorded at The Masters.
Low First Nine – 32
Marvin WARD (1940 Rd 2), Billy Joe PATTON (1954 Rds 1 &4), Ken VENTURI (1956 Rd 1), Ben CRENSHAW (1973 Rd 2), Matt KUCHAR (1998 Rd 3), James DRISCOLL (2001 Rd 1).
Low Second Nine – 31
Casey WITTENBERG (2004 Rd 1), Romain LANGASQUE (2016 Rd 4).
Great British & Irish Amateurs
Sir Michael BONALLACK (England) was the first GB&I amateur to compete in The Masters in 1965. Some amateurs were invited before this but the tournament wasn’t what it is today and therefore they found it hard to justify the expense.
Joe CARR (Ireland) was the first GB&I Amateur to make the cut at The Masters. Rounds of 75, 73, 80 and 78 saw him finish 52nd in 1967. There was no cut until 1957.
Peter MCEVOY (England) is the last GB&I Amateur to make the cut at The Masters. Rounds of 73, 75, 77 and 77 helped him to a 53rd place finish in 1977.
Michael HOEY (Northern Ireland) and Matthew FITZPATRICK (England) have come closest to breaking McEvoy’s record. Both missed the cut by 1-shot, respectively in 2001 (75, 73) and 2013 (76, 73).
The lowest round shot by a GB&I Amateur at The Masters is 72. Gary WOLSTENHOLME (England, Rd 1 1992) and Warren BLADON (England, Rd 2 1997).
In 2017 the Amateur champion Scott GREGORY (England) was the sole GB&I amateur entrant. He shot rounds of 82 and 75 (+13) and missed the cut. He did come away with a consolation prize through; his eagle in round 2 on the par 5 2nd hole earning him a pair of crystal highball glasses.
Scott Gregory – 2016 Amateur Champion With His Masters Invite (Photo: Andrew Griffin)
In the modern qualification era only two GB&I players have played in the same Masters. This was in 2013 when Garrick PORTEOUS (England) and Matt FITZPATRICK (England) competed, respectively as the reigning British and U.S. Amateur champions. Previously Sir Michael BONALLACK and Joe CARR were both invited to play in 1968.
Non-USA Low Amateur Honours
The Masters has been played 81 times between 1934 and 2017, a few years being missed due to World War II. In all but 12 of these an Amateur has completed all four rounds. However, making the cut as an amateur is getting harder – 5 times over the last 12 years no amateur has made the cut.
The Low Amateur prize been won by a Non-American only 6 times.
Manny ZERMAN (South Africa), who finished 59 on +6 was the first to achieve this feat in 1992.
Sergio GARCIA (Spain) and Matteo MANASSERO (Italy) are the only European amateurs to make the cut in recent years, both winning the Silver Cup in the process. Garcia finished T38 (72, 75, 75, 73) in 1998 and Manassero T36 (71, 76, 73, 72) in 2009.
The other three overseas Low Amateur winners were: –
2011 – Hideki MATSUYAMA (Japan) -1 27th
2013 – Gian TIANLANG (China) +12 58th
2014 – Oliver GOSS (Australia) +10 49th
Romain LANGASQUE (France) made the cut in 2016 and in Rd. 4 shot 68, setting a new low score record for European amateurs. However, Romain (+10) was beaten to the Silver Cup by Bryson DECHAMBEAU (USA) +5 last year.
Prior to this Matteo MANASSERO had been the only European amateur to break par in The Masters. He had a 71 in Rd 1 in 2009.
Youngest & Oldest
Tianlang GUAN (China) became the youngest player to participate in The Masters in 2013 – he was 14 years, 5 months and 17 days old. Guan went on to surprise the world by making the cut with opening rounds of 73 and 75 and by Sunday earning Low Amateur honours. Throughout the event he recorded no double-bogeys and had no three-putts.
Tianlang Guan (Photo: Getty Images)
With regard to all Majors Young Tom MORRIS is is the youngest – he was 14 years, 4 months and 25 days old when he played in the 1865 Open Championship.
Matteo MANASSERO (Italy) was the previous youngest Masters player when he competed in 2010 aged 16 years, 11 months and 23 days old.
Paul CHAPLET (Costa Rica), the Latin America Amateur champion and aged just 16, become the second youngest competitor in 2016.
The oldest amateur to play in the Masters was Chick EVANS (USA) who was 62 when he teed it up in 1953.
Prizes and Awards
The Low Amateur began receiving the Silver Cup in 1952. The Low Amateur also attends both the television and patron prize presentations.
Frank Stranahan’s 1953 Silver Cup (Photo: Green Jacket Auctions)
A Silver Medal has been presented to the amateur runner-up since 1954.
The Silver Cup and Medal prizes are only awarded if players make the cut and complete all four rounds.
In 1956 Amateur Ken VENTURI (USA) set the record for the Most Awards in a Single Masters – 7. He took home a silver medal for finishing second, the silver cup and a gold medal for being the Low Amateur, two crystal vases for leading after the first and second rounds, and two pairs of highball glasses for his eagle on the 13th in Round 1 and at the 8th in Round 2.
Par 3 Contest
The Masters Par 3 Contest has been won by an Amateur twice; in 1961 by Deane BEMAN and in 1964 by Labron HARRIS JR.
Amateurs have won the Crystal Pitcher prizes, awarded for the nearest the pin on each hole, on many of the Par 3 Contest holes.
In 2016 16 year old Amateur Paul CHAPLET (Costa Rica) finished tied 4th in the Par 3 Contest.
Including the 2017 Masters 420 different amateurs will have competed in the Tournament during it’s history.
Since 2016 just six Amateurs can qualify each year but prior to the formalization of the exemptions many more played The Masters each year. Although this year Curtis LUCK (AUS) picked up two of the exemptions so we will only have five amateurs to follow. Brad DALKE (USA), Toto GANA (Chile), Scott GREGORY and Stewart HAGESTAD (USA) joining Luck.
11 amateurs competed in the first Masters, in 1934, along with 50 professionals.
The Most Amateurs in Field record was set in 1966 when 26 competed.
The Fewest Amateurs in Field record was set in 1942 when just 2 competed.
Bobby JONES (USA), the amateur co-founder of the Masters played in the first 12 tournaments between 1934-48. His best finish was 13th in 1934.
The Winner and Runner-Up of the previous year’s U.S. Amateur Championship are invited to play in the Masters.
The Winner of the Amateur Championship is also invited to play.
The U.S. and Amateur champions also receive non-playing honorary invitations which mean they are invited to attend The Masters every year for the rest of their lives.
The Winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship (Over 25s) has been exempt since 1989.
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (APAC), co-founded by The Masters, was established in 2009. The winner receives an invitation to that year’s Masters.
The Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC), co-founded by The Masters, was established in 2015. The winner receives an invitation to the following year’s Masters.
Up until 2015 when the U.S.G.A. discontinued the Championship the winner of the U.S. Public Links was also invited. Byron METH (USA) was the last recipient of such an invite in 2015.
The Amateur Experience
Amateurs are given courtesy of the Club and course as soon as they have qualified for the Masters. Many visit and play Augusta on numerous occasions before Tournament week.
Dating right back to the start of The Masters in 1934 all of the amateur entrants have been invited, for a nominal fee, to stay in ‘The Crow’s Nest’. The Crow’s Nest is a communal accommodation that can sleep up to 5 set in the eaves of the Augusta National clubhouse. The Amateurs are the only competitors allowed to lodge on the grounds during Tournament week.
Since 1948 an Amateur Dinner has been held in the clubhouse to honour that year’s amateur contestants. Originally suggested by Charlie Yates this Dinner actually started four years before the now far better known Masters Club (‘Champions’) Dinner.
Bobby Jones attended his last Amateur Dinner in 1968 three years before he died.
Since 1994 the Amateur Dinner invitation list has been widened amongst the Club’s membership. Guest speakers, including Sir Michael Bonallack and Mark O’Meara, have addressed the select group of amateurs in attendance.
In 2001 the Amateur Dinner was moved from the Wednesday night of Masters week to the Monday night.
The Amateur dinner has become an interactive experience in recent years with a video of each player being shown before each of them is invited to introduce themselves to the invited guests.
From 1959 the Masters Competition Committee started to look after the amateurs in the actual draw, pairing them with former champions, star players and if possible fellow countrymen. Nowadays the U.S. Amateur champion always plays with the reigning Masters champion in the opening two rounds.
Copyright © 2016-17, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.