Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club



Amateurs

Masters 2024: A superbomber, a third-timer and a redemption story—Meet this year’s Augusta amateurs

2024 Masters Tournament

Chris Turvey

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jon Rahm might have won the green jacket, but Sam Bennett was the true breakout start of the 2023 Masters. Savvy golf fans might have been aware of the Texas A&M All-American for his victory the previous August at the U.S. Amateur. The general sports public, however, only learned of Bennett and his inspiring story—playing in memory of his late father, with a tattoo of dad’s last written words on his arm—after he shot matching 68s to elbow his way into some the final groups on the weekend. While only finishing tied for 16th, he became the latest example of the love affair between Augusta National and its amateurs.

A year later, Bennett’s performance continues to resonate, with the five amateurs set to compete in the 2024 Masters, each armed with the knowledge that a good start could result in them becoming a similar viral sensation.

“How he played here last year definitely proves that amateur golf is coming a long way and that a lot of these guys are ready to compete when they come out of college or at their respective programs in their country,” said Jasper Stubbs, the 22-year-old Australian competing here this week after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur last November. “I think it's pretty cool to see amateurs doing well, and it's definitely, I guess, making it easier to sort of think that we can do it as well.”

If Bennett’s performance wasn’t proof enough, there was the victory from 2023 U.S. Amateur champion Nick Dunlap in The American Express, becoming the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since 1991. The 20-year-old Alabama native would have been the sixth amateur in this week’s Masters field, but turned pro after winning his tour title.

Given the talent of the fivesome competing with the little "a" next to their names this week, all could reasonable think this could be their week to shine. South Africa’s Christo Lamprecht, the reigning British Amateur champion, held a share of the first-round lead at the Open Championship last summer at Royal Liverpool en route to earning low amateur honors. Three-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, already has a cult-hero status among amateur afficionados, having played in six previous majors and making the cut at the 2017 Masters and 2022 U.S. Open.

That said, all this comes with an unusual statistical backstory. Just nine of the last 20 years has an amateur made the 36-hole cut at the Masters, although in the last 10, it has happened six times. So who is best suited to pull a Bennett? Here’s a look at each amateur:

Santiago de la Fuente

2024 Masters Tournament

Logan Whitton

Age: 22
Home: Guadalajara, Mexico
World Amateur Golf Ranking: 27
PGA Tour University ranking: 24
How he qualified: Latin America Amateur champion
Odds of making the cut: 10-1

Skinny: In 2022, de la Fuente just missed out on the Augusta invite, finishing second on the LAAC. It proved to be heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time: “It was very painful, not just for me but for everyone around me. Probably hurt more than anything that I've ever experienced. But then it was a good motivation to just keep working hard and just do my own thing because I knew I was going to have more opportunities like that, obviously with a few more years to play.” … During his senior year at Houston, he has a 70.61 stroke average with three top-five finishes in six starts. What’s the part of his game that will help him the most at Augusta? “I think for me the thing that's going to help me the most out here is my creativity. I feel that I'm very creative on any type of shot. If I keep using that to my advantage, obviously you have a lot of hills out here that you can take advantage of. So just being creative around the greens and off the fairways.”

Stewart Hagestad

The Masters - Final Round

Harry How

Age: 33
Home: Newport Beach, Calif.
World Amateur Golf Ranking:
11
PGA Tour University ranking: N/A
How he qualified: U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
Odds of making the cut: 3-1

Skinny: Hagestad is celebrating his 33rd birthday on Wednesday and said he intends to have his mom work as his caddie during the Par 3 Contest. (His dad looped in 2022 and he was rained out in 2017.) … He hasn’t been playing much golf of late, as he’s been opening up a new office for KTR Capital Partners in Florida. He did, however, win the only tournament he’s played in so far in 2024, last month’s Azalea Amateur . … On Sunday, he stayed in the Crow’s Nest all by himself. “It was a really, really cool moment. Yeah, I was the only person upstairs. I had dinner. I had a cocktail and a cigar. It was great." … Hagestad was low amateur at the 2017 Masters.

Christo Lamprecht

Age: 23
Home: George, South Africa
World Amateur Golf Ranking: 1
PGA Tour University ranking: 2
How he qualified: British Amateur champion
Odds of making the cut: 2-1

Skinny: The big man—he stands 6-foot-8—is hoping to break the record for best finish by a reigning British Amateur winner, a T-13 from Harvie Ward in 1953. … He’ll also have a bigger cheering section than you might otherwise expect given he’s a senior at Georgia Tech. This season he has two wins in nine starts with a 69.13 stroke average. Meanwhile, get a look at the big man's swing:

Neal Shipley

2024 Masters Tournament

Thomas Lovelock

Age: 23
Home: Pittsburgh, Pa.
World Amateur Golf Ranking: 37
PGA Tour University ranking: 50
How he qualified: U.S. Amateur runner-up
Odds of making the cut: 10-1

Skinny: After falling to Nick Dunlap in the final of the U.S. Amateur last August, Shipley went back to Ohio State for his final season of college golf and grabbed his first college win in the Buckeyes’ fall opener. … Shipley took advantage of all five practice rounds that amateur participants are allowed to play before Masters week. ““I’ve played more than 100 holes already,” he told Golf.com. “So I’m beginning to get a little bit of a feel for the course.”

Jasper Stubbs

2024 Masters Tournament

Joel Marklund

Age: 22
Home: Melbourne, Australia
World Amateur Golf Ranking: 6
PGA Tour University ranking: N/A
How he qualified: Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
Odds of making the cut: 8-1

Skinny: Stubbs might not have played in a Masters before, but he believes the putting practice he’s gotten back home in Australia on fast greens will help steady him at Augusta. “Obviously growing up in Melbourne on the Sand Belt we've got fast greens everywhere you look,” Stubbs said. “So I think, yeah, the fast, slopy greens, my putting is going to hold up on here. So I think it's just dialing in some reads that look a little different to me out here and, yeah, continuing that.” … In his prep for the Masters, Stubbs has made a point practicing shots off sidehill lies. “I was practicing all kind of different slopes, as big as I could find them … just trying to hit different shots off that, which was a pretty cool experience to be able to do that at home.”

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