Amateurs Get Taste
Of Augusta National
Masters Experience Overshadows Disappointment For Amateurs
April 6, 2007
By Alex Davidson
Augusta, Ga. - John Kelly made the only birdie at the par-3 fourth hole. Dave Womack
rattled in a 40-foot birdie putt at the ninth and was one of just five players to
birdie the contentious 11th hole. Casey Watabu birdied the 18th
to cap a round that was nine strokes better than the previous day.
None of the five amateurs competing in the 71st Masters Tournament made
the cut Friday at Augusta National Golf Club, but that didn't mean that their second
round was without highlights.
"It was awesome, the whole experience," said Kelly, the U.S. Amateur runner-up,
whose second straight 77 resulted in a 10-over-par 154 total, just two off the cutline
and the lowest score among the amateurs. "I didn't play that bad at all. Right now
it hurts (not making the cut) but an hour from now it will be pretty cool to look
Dave Womack finished with an 81 Friday. (USGA Photo Archives)
U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsay, playing with defending champion Phil Mickelson,
never got anything going and posted 80-156, 12 over par. Ramsay was one of three
players who didn't make a birdie in the first two rounds.
Meanwhile, Julien Guerrier, the British Amateur champion who played two rounds with
three-time winner Gary Player, was two strokes improved from a first-round 83 to
finish at 20-over 164. Womack also had an 81 with a triple bogey on the home hole
for 165, while Watabu rebounded from an 87, the worst score of the opening round,
to shoot 78. It included two birdies, the last an 18-footer that brought a big smile
to the Hawaii native's face.
"I hit some good shots. I hit it better than my score shows and I putted better
than my score shows, but that's what happens around here," said Womack, the U.S.
Mid-Amateur champion, who didn't have to go far to get home to McDonough, Ga. "There's
really nothing that can prepare you for this. You anticipate it's going to be hard,
but you just don't know until you get out there. But it's still the greatest experience."
Watabu, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, agreed.
"I had two great partners (Tom Watson and Fred Funk) and just tried to enjoy the
day, not put any pressure on myself," said Watabu, who just completed his senior
year at the University of Nevada. "Whatever you shoot doesn't matter because it's
really something special.
"I finished on a good note, I guess. That was really nice. I tried to play the best
I could. Whatever I finished is what I finished, but I played a lot better; it could
only get better after yesterday. It's a lot easier to play after shooting 87. You
can only do better."
Watabu, 23, said he has been mulling over turning professional, but now plans to
remain an amateur and play a full amateur schedule in hopes of making the United
States Walker Cup team. He said he would wait to compete in the PGA Tour qualifying
school this fall or even next year.
"I have a lot of events coming up," he said.
They won't compare to this one, though. "I enjoyed myself so much, and I got a lot
of experience. I'm going to take that and run with it."
Alex Davidson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on www.usga.org