Competing in the Masters is always a thrill, but doing so as an amateur? That’s a whole different experience. From staying in the Crow’s Nest in the clubhouse to competing for low amateur honors, the week is a peak golf experience for those lucky enough to earn the honor.
Although amateurs have little chance of taking home the green jacket, winning low amateur can springboard a talented amateur to a household name. Tiger Woods earned low amateur honors in 1995 before winning the event two years later. And, while it might be hard to fathom, the reigning low amateur is none other than Viktor Hovland — now ranked inside the top 25 in the world. It just goes to show, if you can compete at Augusta National, you can compete anywhere.
This year, six amateurs have descended on Augusta to compete for one of the greatest prizes in amateur golf. And while the roars will be absent, the thrills will be all the same. Here is what you need to know about the six amateurs playing in the 2020 Masters.
1. John Augenstein
Augenstein is a member of the Vanderbilt University golf team and earned his spot in the field with his runner-up finish at the 2019 U.S. Amateur. He went on to play on the 2019 Walker Cup team and finished with a 2-1-1 record as the U.S. team retained the cup. Despite a truncated senior season, Augenstein earned SEC Player of the Year honors. He originally planned on turning pro this past summer, but when the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the golf schedule, he opted to return to school for a fifth year.
2. Abel Gallegos
The 18-year-old earned his spot in the field by winning the 2019 Latin American Amateur, becoming the first Argentinian to do so. Gallegos grew up playing golf at a small nine-hole course in Argentina and said his biggest dream was to compete in the Masters. Like Augenstein, he also planned to turn pro this past summer, but ultimately opted to retain his amateur status in order to play in the Masters.
3. Yuxin Lin
The left-hander secured his place in the field with a win at the Asian-Pacific Amateur, becoming the third Chinese player to win the championship, and the second two-time winner, joining Hideki Matsuyama. This will be Lin’s second appearance in the Masters after his missed cut in 2018. Lin played in his first professional event at the age of 13 and is currently coached by GOLF Top 100 Teacher Boyd Summerhays as he competes for USC.
4. Lukas Michel
Mikel made history last summer at the U.S. Mid-Amateur as he became the first international player to win the event, earning him an invite to the Masters. The 26-year-old Australian grew up competing against the likes of former U.S. Amateur champion Curtis Luck and currently caddies at Royal Melbourne to fund his amateur golf career. Michel has pro golf aspirations, but those plans are on hold until he can cash out on his exemption into the Masters.
5. Andy Ogletree
Another accomplished collegiate player, Ogletree earned his exemption into the Masters with his win at the 2019 U.S. Amateur. With his win, Ogletree became the third player from Georgia Tech to take the title, joining Matt Kuchar and Bobby Jones. As the winner of the U.S. Amateur, Ogletree will be paired in the first two rounds with defending champion Tiger Woods, whom he called “his idol growing up.”
6. James Sugrue
Sugrue hails from Ireland and earned his spot in the field with his win at the British Amateur, which was held in his home country for just the second time. Like many of his fellow amateurs, his plans to turn professional this past summer were put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.