Amateurs In The 2016 Masters

10th April 2016

UPDATE

Bryson DECHAMBEAU lived up to his star billing and won the Silver Cup. Rounds of 72, 72, 77 and 72 saw him finish on +5 and a creditable Tied 22nd.

Bryson DeChambeau Masters 2016

Bryson DeChambeau Receives The Silver Cup (Photo: Jon-Michael Sullivan)

France’s Romain LANGASQUE shot the lowest ever round by a European Amateur in Rd 4 – his 68, followed rounds of 74, 73, and 83. He finished on +10 for Tied 42nd.  As the only other amateur to make the cut he won the Silver Medal.

Derek BARD (76, 77), Sammy SCHMITZ (81, 75), Cheng JIN (79, 78) and Paul CHAPLET (83, 82) all missed the cut.

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3rd April 2016

There will be six amateurs competing at this week’s Masters. The 2016 intake will take the total number of amateurs who have competed in the tournament to 415.

Masters 2016 Journal

The Masters Tournament – 2016 Journal

Listed below are all of the potential eligibility routes to The Masters for amateurs and the 2016 beneficiaries (where applicable): –

Current U.S. Amateur champion (honorary, non-competing after one year*)
Bryson DECHAMBEAU (United States) won the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields C.C. last August.

DeChambeau was just the fifth golfer in history to win the Individual title at the NCAA Division I Championship and follow it up with the U.S. Amateur Championship a few months later.

He has made a big noise in golf since becoming U.S. Amateur champion and it will be interesting to see how he goes at the Masters. He plans to turn pro at the RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head the week immediately after his Augusta experience.

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 1 / WAGR 3.

Bryson DeChambeau US Amateur 2015

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: USGA)

Current U.S. Amateur runner-up
Derek BARD (United States) lost the U.S. Amateur final 7&6 to DeChambeau but gained the consolation of an invitation to The Masters.

Bard is a Junior at the University of Virginia. He has won once this season at the U.S. Collegiate in October and more recently has had two Top 5’s in March; at the Palmetto Invite (71-65-71, -3 5th) and the Linger Longer Invitational (68-71-71, -6 4th).

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 13 / WAGR 25.

Derek Bard

Derek Bard (Photo: USGA)

Current British Amateur champion (honorary, non-competing after one year*)
Romain LANGASQUE (France) won the 2015 Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last June.

The 20 year old Amateur champion seems to be going from strength to strength in recent weeks winning the Spanish Amateur, coming second at the Barclays Kenya Open on the European Challenge tour and then earlier this week defeating DeChambeau 4&3 in The Georgia Cup challenge match.

He also plans to turn pro straight after the Masters – few would doubt he is ready.

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 5 / WAGR 7.

Romain Langasque Amateur 2015 Photo 2

Romain Langasque (Photo: Getty Images)

Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion (since 2014)
Cheng JIN (China) won the 2015 Asia-Pacific at the Clearwater Bay G.&C.C. in Hong Kong last October. A first round 62 (-8) set him up for a famous victory.

Jin was 18 on 6th March but has been making a name for himself for a few years now. He won a PGA Tour China pro tournament in 2014 and has impressed when given invitations to play in both Asia and European Tour events in recent months.

He will become the second Chinese player to compete in The Masters and no one would be surprised to see him making the cut like Tianlang Guan did back in 2013.

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 16 / WAGR19.

Cheng Jin Asia-Pacific 2015

Cheng Jin (Photo: APAC)

Past Asia-Pacific champions invited to the following year’s Master’s include: –
2009 Chang-Won Han (Korea)
2010 Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)
2011 Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)
2012 Tianlang Guan (China)
2013 Chang-Woo Lee (Korea)
2014 Antonio Murdaca (Australia)

Current Latin America Amateur champion (since 2015)
Paul CHAPLET (Costa Rica) won the 2016 Latin America Amateur in January at the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominicon Republic.

Despite winning the Costa Rican National Junior Championship in both 2014 and 2015 16 year old Chaplet was something of a surprise winner of the 2016 Latin American Amateur.  The second youngest player in the field he was ranked 834th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the start of play in January.

He will easily be the youngest player at this year’s Masters.

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 380 / WAGR 441.

img_5639

Paul Chaplet (Photo: LAAC)

Matias Dominguez (Chile) won the inaugural Latin America Amateur at Pilar G.C. in Argentina, thus gaining entry to the 2015 Masters.

Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
Sammy SCHMITZ (United States) won the U.S. Mid-Amateur (over 25’s) at John’s Ireland Club in Florida last October. A hole-in-one on a par 4 normally gets the job done. It certainly did for Schmitz (35) on the final hole of last year’s championship.

Schmitz was a 3-time All-American at St. John’s University before moving to Florida to pursue his pro ambitions. It didnt work out so he regained his amateur status and now works in the healthcare industry back home in River Falls, Minnesota.

Current Amateur Rankings – SPWAR 509 / WAGR 2,535.

Sammy Schmitz 2016 US Mid-Amateur

Sammy Schmitz (Photo: USGA)

The first 12 players, including ties, from the previous year’s Masters
Last year none of the 7 amateurs who competed made the cut so no one has taken advantage of a return trip.

The 2015 amateur scores were: –
Corey CONNERS (Canada)            80 69
Byron METH (United States)           74 76
Anthonio MURDACA (Australia)     78 73
Matias DOMINGUEZ (Chile)           76 76
Scott HARVEY (United States)        76 81
Bradley NEIL (Scotland)                 78 79
Gunn YANG (South Korea)             85 74

The first 4 players, including ties, from the previous year’s other Majors, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the U.S. P.G.A. Championship  

No amateurs were able to take advantage of this exemption criteria last year although at The Open Championship at St. Andrews they were queuing up to try.

The low amateur at the 2015 U.S. Open was Brian Campbell (United States) +5 T27.

The low amateur at the Open Championship was Jordan Niebrugge (United States) -11 T6. Oliver Schniederjans (United States) and Ashley Chesters (England) -9 T12 as well as Paul Dunne (Ireland) -6 T30 were also noteworthy.

No amateurs compete in the U.S. P.G.A. Championship.

Prior to this year the Current U.S. Public Links champion also earned a berth. The U.S.G.A. decided to discontinue the Championship in 2015 and as a result Byron Meth was the last player to gain an exemption via this route.

* Honorary, non-competing after one year invitations are awarded to the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions. In other words they are invited to play in the tournament the following year after their Amateur victory (so long as they remain amateurs) but then are also invited annually to attend the tournament as guests of the Club.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Who Will Win The 2015 Masters ?

6th April 2015

UPDATE – Jordan Spieth won the 2015 US Masters with a record equalling -18 score (64, 66, 70, 70 = 270), beating Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose by 4-shots.

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As we all know predicting the winner of a golf tournament is far from easy. However, with The Masters our chances are better than normal – that’s because it is a Major, it is played on the same course every year and most importantly it has the smallest field of any of these four elite events.

Firstly, let’s get ourselves in the mood by putting Don Cherry’s ‘Augusta’ on repeat play.

 

In 2015 there are a few more players at Augusta National than normal, with a total of 99 qualifying for the famous early season Invitational.

The broad rules for determining the winner are well known – so here is my interpretation of them.  I like to deduce the winner by visually removing the Green Jacket from individual players one-by-one.

1. Amateurs and Special Invitees are there for historic reasons only.

Connors, Dominguez, Harvey, Meth, Murdaca, Neil, Yang (7)

2. Rookie’s don’t win – on average winner’s are playing at Augusta for the 7th time.

Compton, Hahn, Harman, M. Hoffmann, Koepka, Lahiri, Lowry, Noh, Streb, Todd, Tringale, Wiesberger, Willett (13)

3. Former Major / Past Champions that are clearly well past their best can be discounted.

Couples, Crenshaw, Langer, Lyle, Mize, O’Meara, Olazabel, Singh, T. Watson, Weir, Woosnam (11)

4. Over 40s can’t cope with the length and short-game demands now placed upon them. The average age of a winner is around 33.

Bjorn, Cabrera, Clarke, Els, Furyk, Harrington, Jaidee, Jimenez, Mickelson, Senden, Stricker, Westwood (12) 

5. ‘In The Hole’ and ‘Mashed Potato’ – those with limited or no experience of playing in the US normally struggle.

Donaldson, Dubuisson, Ilonen, Luiten (4)  

6. It is unlikely that a player will win the Masters without having competed well in a Major before. Ask yourself if they have a Top 10 finish in a Major on their record ?

Bae, Crane, Every, Gallacher, Grace, Haas, Henley, C. Hoffman, Holmes, Kirk, Martin, Moore, Palmer, Streelman, Villegas, Woodland (16) 

That was easy – questions 1-6 have eliminated 63 of the 99 entries.  Anyone who makes this ‘cut’ obviously has a chance to win but further tests can usefully be applied to reduce the field even further: –

7. ‘Horses for Courses’ – Augusta simply doesn’t suit some players.  What does their track record and TV interviews tell us ?

Bradley, Donald, Dufner, Kaymer, Matsuyama, McDowell, Reed, Simpson, Stenson (9) 

8. Did they play last year and if so how did they get on ?  Recent good memories must help.

Blixt, Casey, Clark, Immelmann, Z. Johnson, Leishman (WD), Na (7) 

9. Is their putting and chipping really up to it ?

Day, Ogilvy, Schwartzel, Scott, Woods (5)

10. ‘Bottle’ – have they shown the mental fortitude required to win a Major, let alone the historic Masters ?

Fowler, Garcia, Horschel, D. Johnson, Kucher, Mahan, Snedeker, Stadler (8) 

So for our potential winner the above analysis leaves just seven players –

McIlroy, Oosthuizen, Poulter, Rose, Spieth, Walker, B. Watson (7)

Take your pick from these seven who I believe should all achieve high finishes.

As no European has won for 15 years (McIlroy, Poulter and Rose), Oothuizen hasn’t shown enough recent form, Spieth has contended twice in the last two weeks thus peaking too soon and as defending Majors is extremely difficult (Watson) I think I’ll go for Jimmy Walker.  An encouraging Masters debut last year (T8), experience contending in other recent Majors, American, a good age (36) and maintaining great form over an extended period.  Hopefully a little bit of value too.

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.